With the current mitigation efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19, gyms are shuttered; yoga and group fitness classes are suspended. Maintaining a consistent exercise regimen can be a challenge. Some people stay disciplined enough to exercise regularly on their own; turns out, I’m not one of those people. Videos, On Demand exercise, even my very own yoga decks can help…and yet I find myself falling off the exercise bandwagon, skipping things I don’t care for or holding a pose for less time than when I’m in a class. That ain’t good.
But I heard some great news recently, courtesy of a Life Kit podcast: All movement counts as exercise! Let me repeat: All movement! Everything – getting up from a chair (go ahead, do it!), walking up the stairs, vacuuming, carrying groceries – counts. Often we take an “all or nothing” approach when it comes to exercise; we’re either at the gym for 2 hours or we’re on the couch. But there’s a lot in between: a quick walk around the block, 10 jumping jacks, standing and stretching.
So here’s why this is important. To help prevent cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes and some cancers, experts recommend 150 minutes of activity a week. That computes to 22 minutes a day or 30 minutes five times a week. I bet you can easily find ways to fit a little over 20 minutes of movement into your day. Remember, it all adds up and below are some suggestions.
And there’s more good news: research has shown that short bouts of exercise throughout the day can result in the same heart-healthy benefits as one long stint.
Get a Move On!
· Working from home? Stand up and stretch at least once an hour. Set a timer as a reminder to stop, stand and s – t – r – e – t – c – h.
· Move around when you’re waiting for water to boil. Walk in place, do some squats, rise up and down on your tiptoes, which will strengthen your feet, ankles and calf muscles… plus improve your balance!
· Use the stairs as much as possible.
· Stand up when you’re on the phone and walk around while talking.
· Bend your legs as if you’re about to sit in a chair…but don’t! Repeat a few times.
· Fidget! Tap your toes, move your feet, jiggle your legs.
· Use fitness bands or light weights when you’re watching TV.