When you have a busy life or a hectic schedule, it may seem impossible to add exercise to the list of things you need to do. The stress from keeping up with your daily life can crush the motivation to maintain physical fitness.
While most people know that exercise has numerous health benefits such as weight loss and increased energy, many don’t realize that exercise is one of the best ways to effectively manage stress levels and improve your overall health.
Fortunately, no matter what your fitness level, you can easily incorporate exercise into your life in many different ways.
You don’t have to go to a gym every day, run on a treadmill for hours, or join an expensive workout program to see results. Even the smallest increase of exercise in your daily life will provide you with many physical and mental health benefits.
Here are five easy ways to get more exercise …
Easy ways to get more exercise
1. Start out small
A common misconception about exercise is that it must be intense or painful to be effective. Consequently, many people injure themselves because they overwork their bodies by lifting too much, doing too many repetitions, or exercising for too long.
The pain and time required to recover from an injury can lead to discouragement and avoidance of exercise altogether.
While exercise can cause muscle fatigue, which feels like a burning sensation, it shouldn’t cause pain, swelling, or redness.
By starting out with small numbers of repetitions and shorter workout periods, exercise will become much easier in the long term. Not only will you not have to spend time recovering from over-exercise injuries, but you’ll also build strength and stamina much faster.
If you’re not used to a regular workout, try with just five minutes of cardio activity or only do a few reps of a strength training exercise every day. Within a few days, try to do slightly more and see how you feel.
While this may not seem like much, this is a safe starting point that will allow your body to adjust to an increase in physical activity without causing problems.
2. Do mini-workouts throughout the day
If you’re especially busy, then you may have to get creative with scheduling time to exercise.
Because your health is so important, you must choose to make the time for this habit, even when that may seem unachievable. The benefits might offset many health issues such as diabetes and metabolic syndrome, so it’s crucial to begin an exercise routine as soon as possible.
Fortunately, exercise doesn’t have to take up large chunks of your time. A great way to get more exercise without affecting your overall productivity is to plan small amounts around habits and tasks that are already part of your daily routine.
Here are some suggestions:
- Do some gentle stretches to warm up your body and get your circulation moving while waiting for your morning coffee to brew.
- Put a set of light weights under your desk, set a timer on your phone, and do a few reps every time the alarm goes off.
- After eating lunch, go for a 15-minute power walk.
- Do five pushups before brushing your teeth.
- While watching television, do jumping jacks during the commercial breaks.
It will only take you a few minutes to do these exercises so they won’t take away from your day, plus you’ll begin to see results within a few weeks.
3. Make your commute double as a workout
This is a great way to get more exercise because you can use the time spent traveling to also improve your health. Here are a few ways you can easily do this:
- Try walking to as many places as you can. You’ll end up walking a few miles without even noticing.
- Take the bus or another form of public transportation as this requires more walking and physical activity than driving a car.
- Get a bike and ride everywhere. You don’t need anything fancy as a basic bike and helmet will do. You can find these items at affordable prices in thrift shops and used sporting good stores. If it’s difficult to ride a traditional bike, try a recumbent bike or a tricycle. These types of bikes put less stress on the upper body, which make them easier to ride.
If you live in a particularly rural area, some of these options may be more challenging. Use caution when walking in areas without sidewalks or biking in places without designated lanes. Always wear reflective gear at night so that you’re visible to automobile drivers.
4. Reward yourself with physically active experiences
After a long day, you may be tempted to treat yourself by indulging in comfort foods and sedentary activities such as watching TV, but these things aren’t rewarding to your health.
Try trading these habits with experiences that get you moving, such as going bowling or ice skating. Sign up for a yoga or Pilates class to strengthen your body as well as your flexibility and endurance.
You can also make daily exercise more fun. Turn on some upbeat music and dance for 20 minutes. Get a hula hoop and begin strengthening your core while getting some cardio. Jumping rope is another great option that’s both inexpensive and enjoyable. You could also take up skateboarding and roller-skating as these are also wonderful cardio options.
5. Invite others to join you
Getting other people involved in your decision to make exercise a priority will help you stick to your commitments.
Talk to friends who are at similar fitness levels as yours, and you may find that you’re not alone in your desire to increase your activity. Start something like a meet-up for going on walks around interesting parts of your city, or organize a group and carpool to a local hiking trail.
If you have children, help them get more physical activity by incorporating it into their day as well. Go for an after-dinner walk as a family and explore the neighborhood while getting some exercise. Enroll your children in classes that get them moving, like karate, gymnastics, or dance, where they can not only learn a skill but also maintain physical fitness. Even just walking to the playground and letting them play on the equipment will help your kids develop active habits from a young age.
These easy ways can help you get more exercise and improve your overall health. To see even more benefits, make sure to also eat a healthy diet of whole foods that are free of inflammation triggers such as added sugar, refined carbohydrates, and processed oils. Consult with your doctor before starting a new fitness program, especially if you have any health conditions that could affect your ability to exercise.