Add exercise without changing your routine

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By Josey Crew
What is the main reason you give for not getting enough exercise in your day?  Are you too busy, too tired when you get home from work, or just don’t have the energy to even think about exercising? We give all sorts of excuses and don’t even want to hear the E-word some days. What if activity wasn’t a dreaded thing and what if you could make it fun and fit it into your normal everyday routine? Do I have your attention? Not to sound like I’m trying to sell a product, but it is possible to incorporate more activity into your day by doing simple things.
First, start off slow. Increasing your activity from doing nothing to all of a sudden running three miles in 20 minutes might not go over too well with your body. This will more than likely set you up for failure. Start off exercising five to 10 minutes per day the first week, the next week increase the time by five more minutes and keep increasing each week by five minutes until you reach 30 minutes a day. This should take you about six weeks to gradually build up to your goal of 30 minutes a day.
Second, you have to identify slots throughout the day where you have a little extra time. I’m not talking about an extra hour or anything. Only 10 minutes three times a day. That sounds a little better than 30 minutes all together doesn’t it? The truth is you don’t have to exercise for 30 minutes straight to get the benefits of exercise. You can split it up during the day however you like. For example, if you must go to McDonalds for lunch, don’t park there, park a few lots down and walk there. It may sound silly, but that could be your 10 minutes of extra activity during your lunch break. When you get home and you sit down to watch your favorite show...stand up!  Something as simple as walking in place during your show or doing jumping jacks during the commercials can help increase daily activity. When you get a phone call, get up and walk around instead of sitting during the conversation. If you are in a building that has stairs, take them instead of the elevator. In return you gain exercise and in some cases it might save you some time. If you do decide to set aside a specific time to exercise daily, make it something you enjoy so it doesn’t seem like a chore.  Whether it is swimming, hiking, yard work, sports, or biking, pick something you know you will stick with.
Another important thing to remember is to surround yourself with support. Not only involving family, but friends or coworkers can help you stick with your activity routine when you might want to slack off.  Tell everyone you are around that you are starting an exercise routine and then you will most likely do it if you have others to keep you on track. Motivation is the key to achieving what you have planned for yourself. Stay positive and just do it!
Editors Note: Josey Crew, RD, LD is a clinical dietitian for Lincoln Trail District Health Department. Nutrition counseling is available for children and adults by appointment at the Marion County Health Center. Monthly classes are also offered for weight loss and people with diabetes.  For further information, call (270) 692-3393.