Health & Fitness

Basic Fitness Needs

The U.S. Surgeon General recommends that each of us get at least 150 minutes of aerobic activity per week. That’s a little more than 20 minutes each day, or 30 minutes 5 days a week. Many of us are busy, so you’ll be happy to note that three 10-minute bouts of exercise throughout the day work nearly as well as one 30-minute session.


Getting Motivated

I know plenty of people who say they can’t motivate themselves to exercise. And I’d have to lie to say that I didn’t feel like sitting down to read a good book some of those times I go to run. It’d certainly be easier to read a book than it’d be to run a 10K.

One way to get motivated is to set (achievable) goals. Set long-term goals like “I want to lose 15 pounds by the time my 10-year reunion comes around.” But also set short-term goals like “I will find time to work out for at least 30 minutes a day.” The secret, I find, is to set make sure that your short-term goals will lead naturally to your long-term goals. In this case, I’m positive that if I’m working out every day (and not sabotaging myself with unhealthy foods), I will reach my goal.

And bring a friend. Friends or exercise partners will keep you honest, as well as provide you with fun and/or interesting conversation to pass the time.


Other Obstacles

If you struggle to exercise because of pain, begin with (and generally stick to) low-impact exercises. When I’m not out running, I love to go swimming. Swimming is great because 1) it’s a whole-body exercise, 2) it doesn’t leave me sweaty and disgusting, and 3) it’s vigorous yet easy on my joints.

If you have kids and can’t get away from them for exercise, join them in their play as exercise. Go to the park and walk around while they play on the slide. Or run around and kick the soccer ball with them. You don’t need a formal and unchanging exercise routine to get the exercise you need. But do make some sort of exercise a habit.

If you’re at an office, take the stairs. Set your screensaver to go on every twenty minutes. When it comes on, get up and stretch. Every hour or two, take five or ten minutes to do wall sits or squats, or get out of your office, get outside, and briskly walk.