DIET AND EXERCISE are essential components of a healthy lifestyle. While even the busiest men and women can find ways to eat healthy, finding time to exercise can be more difficult. According to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition, regular physical activity can prevent chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer and stroke, which are the three leading causes of health-related death in the United States. In addition, men and women who are not physically active are at greater risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Regular exercise helps people control their weight while promoting bone, muscle and joint health.
While the benefits of regular exercise are substantial, finding the time for daily exercise is not always so easy. The following are a handful of strategies men and women can employ as they attempt to make more time in their days to exercise.
• Reexamine your free time. Few adults, and especially those juggling families and careers, have an abundance of free time. But reexamining the ways you are spending your free time may help you uncover some moments for daily exercise. The Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition notes that adults between the ages of 18 and 64 need at least two and a half hours each week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity. While that may seem like a lot, it’s only slightly more than 20 minutes per day. It helps to supplement such aerobic activity with some strength-training activities at least two days per week. Try waking up 20 to 30 minutes earlier each day, using that time to hit the treadmill or jog around the neighborhood. You likely won’t be affected by waking up earlier, and you won’t need to alter your existing schedule for the rest of the day, either. If mornings aren’t your thing, make better use of your lunch hour, going for a jog or visiting your company’s exercise facilities if that option is available to you.
• Work while you exercise. Technology has made it easier than ever before to stay connected to the office even when you are nowhere near your desk. Men and women who can’t seem to find time to exercise often cite the demands of their job as the primary reason behind their inactivity, but those same individuals can use the technology at their disposal, be it smartphones that allow them keep track of work emails or tablets that make it possible to connect remotely to office servers, to work while they exercise. Bring your smartphone or tablet with you when you work out on the elliptical or jog on the treadmill.
• Reduce your sedentary time. A 2008 study from Australian researchers found that people who regularly break up their sedentary time, including the hours they sit behind their desk at the office, with movement had healthier waist circumferences, body mass indexes and triglycerides than those who did not. While hourly breaks to walk around the office might not seem like exercise, such breaks can benefit your long-term health.
• Get creative. Many people associate daily exercise with private gyms, and while gyms can serve as excellent motivators and great places to get full-body workouts, time involved in driving to and from the gym can make it difficult to commit to gym memberships. But you don’t need a gym membership to live a healthy lifestyle. When possible, take the stairs instead of an elevator and park further away from your office door so you get a small cardiovascular workout on your way into and out of the office. Rather than retiring to the couch after dinner, walk or bike around your neighborhood. Such simple gestures may seem insignificant, but the more creative ways you find to exercise each day, the more beneficial such efforts become.
While there is no way to create more time in the day, men and women can employ several strategies to make more time for daily exercise.