We’ve been reminding you all month long that February is American Heart Month. Today we’re reminding you that lack of physical activity is one of the main risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Luckily in Florida we have beautiful weather (especially in February) so we can continue to be active all year long – no excuses! But if getting out there to exercise for the recommended 30 minutes a day seems impossible, fear not. Did you know you can get the same heart benefits from breaking up that 30 minutes into short bursts of activity you can fit in throughout the day? Come on, we all have time for 5 or 10 minutes here and there. Here’s how to get it done.
1. Walk your dog (or cat). Go for a 5 minute walk around the block with your pet in the morning and in the evening. It’s good for both of you!
2. Take your kids to the playground. Or just out into your backyard. Play tag for 10 minutes or just chase them around. If you have a baby, take your little one out for a brisk walk with the stroller.
3. Do a walk-and-talk at work. They do it on all the TV shows. Instead of a sit down meeting in your office, go for a walk inside your building (or even better, outside) with your co-workers for a mini walking meeting. Getting that blood flowing can even help generate new ideas.
4. Do double duty and watch TV on a treadmill or stationary bike. Do you like to watch TV after dinner? Maybe you like to catch up on the news before breakfast. Why not combine your TV time with exercise? I run on the treadmill in the morning before my kids and hubby wake up, and that’s my time to catch up on my TV shows.
5. Make use of commercials during TV time. If you are watching TV in the evening and didn’t do your 30 minutes earlier in the day, don’t despair. During commercial breaks just get up and do 15 repetitions each of the following exercises: jumping jacks, squats, lunges, and pushups. Once you’re done, do it again, and continue until your program returns. Try it for every commercial break.
6. Park a little further. Get to work 5 minutes earlier and park a little further away. That’s 10 minutes just walking to and from your car. You can also do this on weekends if you’re heading to the grocery store or mall.
7. Take walk breaks during the day. We all spend so much of our days in meetings. If you have some time at lunch or between meetings in the morning and afternoon, go for a walk around the building or outside. Take three 10-minute walk breaks and you’re done!
8. Skip the elevator and take the stairs. Do this every time you need to go to a meeting on another floor.
9. Try using a bathroom on a different floor. Combine this with #8, above (read: don’t take the elevator!). Every little bit helps and it adds up over the course of your week.
10. Try a new activity. Maybe you’ve been wanting to try yoga or Zumba at the gym. Sign up for a new class that you’re excited about, or try a workout video streaming service online like dailyburn.com or beachbody.com.
Don’t forget that doing something is SO much better than doing nothing at all, especially when it comes to getting your heart ticking in tip top shape. Remember to always check with your health care provider before starting any sort of exercise program, especially if you’ve been sedentary. Now don’t just sit there, go for a walk!