March 24, 2017

How to #Fit30 Minutes of Activity in Your Day by Deb Lowther

How to #Fit30 Minutes of Activity in Your Day

You can #Fit30 minutes of activity into your day.

Think of it as fitting in 30 minutes of ME TIME.

You know staying active is good for you, you know you will feel better after you do something active, and you know it is important to take care of yourself . . . but do you know WHY it is so good for you? How you can #Fit30 minutes in? How to start? Or What you can do to be active?

Why is 30 minutes of Activity Good for You?

Just 30 minutes a day can:
Reduce blood pressure
Lower Type 2 diabetes risk
Protect from heart disease
Reduces risk of stroke
Improve heart, lung and muscle fitness
Build muscle mass
Keep bones strong
Boost energy
Improve breathing
Reduce risk of arthritis
Better sleep
Improve mood
Lower anxiety
Boost memory
Lower dementia
Boost creativity
Feel younger
Boost immune system
Control weight

How to #Fit30 Minutes of Activity in Your Day
Scheduling 30 minutes of me time can be tricky, but if you are determined you can find little nuggets of time to fit in a walk or 15-30 minutes on a yoga mat. How about during kids karate class you go for a walk, eat lunch at your desk and spend your break time walking, taking that coffee meeting outside, climbing the stairs instead of taking the elevator, turn the afternoon playdate into a stroller walk or jog to the kids soccer game instead of taking the van? Walk before dinner, stroll after kids are in bed or make it a morning habit to stretch before starting your day.

Look for times you are sitting that you could be moving and always have your runners within reach. Even 10 minutes of activity a few times a day works; anything that adds up to 30 minutes of activity a day counts.

How to Start
Just do it.  Start with something easy and accessible like walking or stretching or simple exercises that you can do in the living room. Commit to #Fit30 minutes of activity in your day somewhere – a walk, a set of planks/squats/lunges and push ups or join a gym, a yoga class, a basketball or learn to run group.  You won’t always feel like it, but do it anyways. Your health will thank you. Research says it take 66 days to form a habit and even then you may not want to do it some days!  But do it anyways. Its just 30 minutes.

What You Can Do to be Active
Mix it up! Get in some Cardio, some Strength exercises and some Stretching.

Cardio
Try for three days per week of higher intensity activity that will increase your cardiovascular (aerobic) capacity such as fast walking, jogging, climbing stairs or bicycling. This type of activity can be done indoors at the gym or on treadmills, stair climbers, ellipticals, stationary bikes or outdoors on trails, sidewalks, parks or forest.

Strength Training
Strength training does not have to be extreme weight lifting. Anything that challenges a muscle group through lifting or resistance – triceps, biceps, chest, legs, back or core - is considered strength training. Yoga is excellent for strength as it builds on many of these muscle groups using your own body weight and holding positions for a length of time. Doing a series of push ups will build arm strength, squats or lunges will increase leg strength and plank or sit ups will improve core muscles.

Stretching
Stretching is important as it increases flexibility and helps avoid injury from cardio, strength training and regular daily activities.  When the body is warmed up, such as after a brisk walk, try to stretch muscles used and hold each stretch for 10-30 seconds. Yoga is also great for flexibility and for learning new techniques for reaching hard to stretch areas.

Make being active part of your every day routine and #Fit30 minutes either all at once or throughout the day.

Encourage others to join you, and plan weekend family outings. Explore a hiking trail, a waterfall, a set of climbing stairs, a bike path, a new trail, nearby tennis courts, a yoga class, try a strength workout DVD or swim laps at the community pool.

Deb Lowther is a mother of 3 tween daughters who, when not running after the kids, is running in the trails. She contributes Family Health articles to many websites and magazines and ensures her own family has fun while eating healthy & staying active.  Find more inspiring tips on her website http://www.raisinghealthykids.co, Facebook page and her new column Family on the Run on Erica Ehm’s YummyMummyClub.  Follow Deb on both Twitter @Deb_Lowther and Pinterest.

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