Written by Allie McTighe, dietetic student at Miami University of Ohio: So we all agree that exercise is a very important aspect of living a healthy life. And most will agree that finding the time is the biggest challenge. Ironically many individuals that complain about having time have chosen an exercise that is time consuming. Let’s face it few people hit the health club for 15 to 30 minutes. Most work out for at least an hour doing a variety of exercises. Nothing wrong with that but when you don’t have the time, money or motivation remember there are simple alternatives that will provide some of the same benefits. Take walking for example, and it is a great time of year to consider it with spring right around the corner All it takes is 30 minutes out of your day and you can do it in increments. Spend 15 minutes during your lunch break and 15 minutes after dinner. Get off the bus or train early and walk yourself home. Volunteer at an animal shelter and walk dogs. Fitting this kind of exercise in can be easier than you think.
Research shows that people who do not exercise have a greater mortality rate and gain higher amounts of fat, than people who do. If you are looking for motivation here is a list of some of the reasons to begin a program:
1. Helps you lose weight
2. Improves blood pressure
3. Increases muscle mass
4. Reduces stress
5. Decreases your risk for diabetes
6. Good for your bones
In warmer weather people have been shown to exercise more. The great thing about nice weather is that there are plenty of exercise opportunities available to do outdoors, that cost nothing! No paying for a gym membership, personal trainer or exercise equipment. Research has shown that moderate exercise- the equivalent of walking a couple miles a day may be the best way to burn extra calories. The journal Current Biology recently reported that the body seems to adapt its metabolism so that calorie burning plateaus, no matter how hard you work out (Amy Norton). They found that moderate exercise like walking a few miles a day may be the best way to burn calories.
Here are a few suggestions. If possible walk to and from the train or bus, to class, or to get food during your lunch break. Take the stairs instead of an elevator and go for a walk when talking on the phone. Exercise doesn’t have to be boxing or cycling, it can be walking two-miles after dinner. The best part about walking is IT COST NOTHING! Take advantage of your two feet and use them. They are always available.
So this spring try walking more. Set a goal of 10,000 steps a day, and partnering up with a friend or coworker or dog. Find an app and increase your steps every week by 10%. You’ll find yourself becoming more active and having fun. For more ideas about becoming physically active check out the book Too Busy to Diet.