”Michigan, do you only think of exercise in the context of the gym? This week's article re-examines exercise, and suggests every day opportunities to get your physical activity in. We hope you find this helpful and motivating!
Reading time: 4 Minutes
- How to incorporate exercise into your daily routine
- Examples of common activities that count as exercise
- Working around a physical disability to get daily physical activity
- Daily exercise can come from your routine chores, not necessarily from going to the gym.
- Examples of daily activities that can include walking to and from home/work, taking out the trash, and carrying groceries.
- Even 20 minutes of activity a day can have a positive impact on your health.
Do you dread dragging yourself to the gym or throwing on your trainers for a jog around the block? Chances are that you’re not alone in avoiding conventional forms of exercise. The good news is that you can get your daily dose of physical activity by simply living your life. As a normal person, you probably walk on a daily basis to and from home or work. You may even carry an item or two at some point in the day for a significant length of time. Even if you have a busy schedule and can’t set aside a solid block of time to exercise, you can always increase the physical demand of your daily activities to reap some of the same health benefits.
Moderate exercise for about twenty minutes every day can still make a significant positive impact on your health in comparison to more structured workout plans. The key to getting these twenty minutes accomplished every day is to weave them into your day-to-day routines. One of the most common activities that you do throughout the day is transporting yourself via locomotion from your legs (or possibly arms if using a wheelchair). If you are already moving around to get in your car, hoping on public transport, or simply walking the whole way to work, there is an opportunity to turn that commute into twenty minutes of sustained physical activity. Since you need to get a minimum of twenty minutes of movement in, you can add difficulty to your routine by increasing the amount of time you spend walking between destinations; Just take a longer route to reap the health benefits.
An increased amount of cardio is relatively easy to work into your current daily routines, but what about strength and resistance training? Well if you lift groceries out of the car, take your laundry to/from the machine, or take out the garbage, you are already engaging muscle groups to accomplish those tasks.
You only need to add some weight while doing these mundane tasks to supercharge your chores with resistance training. As with any exercise plan, be cautious with how much additional weight you are manipulating while engaging in these tasks; Slowly increase the amount of weight you add to your daily chores to avoid injury.
Since you’re able to add both movement and weight to pretty much any chore, it’s relatively easy to make exercise just as commonplace as brushing your teeth. The greatest benefit to making your daily life activities your form of exercise is that there are virtually no limitations on how you accomplish your goals. As long as you move your body for at least twenty minutes per day, in whatever capacity, you are helping yourself to become stronger. This rule even applies if you have a physical disability. Even if you have limited use of your limbs, it is important to engage as many other parts of your body as possible to maintain proper blood flow as well as oxygenate your tissues with increased respiration. Don’t give yourself any excuses to not move your body in some capacity.
It is pretty easy to see that many forms of exercise are possible by just going about your day-to-day activities and adding just a slight level of difficulty. Minimal effort is required to reap the benefits of exercise that come from tasks that you would perform regardless. No matter what your ability level, you are capable of achieving at least twenty minutes of sustained physical activity just by living your life.
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BY MARY HARMON
Mary Harmon is a freelance writer who has been living with MS since 1988. Her favorite sport is kayaking. Reviewed by: Pat Bednarik, MS, CCC-SLP, MSCS; James Bowen, MD; Barbara Giesser, MD; Yolanda Harris, MSN, CRNP-AC, MSCN; Pat Kennedy, RN, CNP, MSCN; Sue Kushner, MS, PT; Albert Lo, MD, PhD; Robert Motl, PhD; Christine Smith, OTR/L, MSCS.