Happy May! As we are enjoying some beautiful spring weather, it's a great time to discuss Health Foundation #3: exercise.
As an avid runner and yogi, I can personally attest to the numerous effects that a balanced exercise routine has on one's body. Exercise boosts your serotonin levels, increases cell turnover and renewal, allows toxins to be excreted through sweat, and strengthens your bones and heart to support long-term health.
What is the recommended amount of exercise? A minimum of thirty minutes of cardiovascular activity per day and a personalized strength training routine.
I often have clients asking me if their daily walking to school/the shuk/errand running can count towards their thirty minutes. Many people are surprised to hear that that the answer is no.
Our bodies are made to move. Walking around the neighborhood or taking the steps instead of the elevator are great habits to get into to support long-term health. However, in order to support cardiovascular health and reap the benefits of physical activity, engaging in 30 minutes of aerobic exercise a day is a goal that we should all aim for. Adding in a quick strength training routine a few times a week will support bone density and increase metabolism.
Here are a few easy-ish ways to incorporate exercise into your daily routine:
1. Become an early bird and get that run/power walk/online workout out of the way by rising forty minutes before your regular time. Enjoy the stillness of the city, the quiet of your house, and a serotonin boost.
2. Catch up with your friends, or even make some new ones, by finding an exercise buddy. If you don't have time for every day, aim for a few times a week. Evenings might be easiest if that is what fits with your work schedule. Alternatively, perhaps you can turn part of your lunch break into a power walk with a coworker.
3. Download the app "Kelo" for an easy strength training routine that takes less than ten minutes. Do it three to four times a week. Make sure to alternate which muscle groups you are working.
4. "Drop and give me 15!" On even or odd days of the month (just pick), drop to the ground three times a day and do 12-15 push-ups (check out this tutorial for good form!). The same idea can be applied to squats, planking, and tricep dips.
5. Employ some creative time management to incorporate exercise into your routine. The most common comment I hear about exercise is "Who has the time?" This is a valid question. We live busy lives. Many of us have intense work/school/childcare schedules. Adding to the pressure, often there isn't a lot of free time or free money to make our schedules flow. The only way around this is to change our mindset and check-in to the idea that exercise should be a priority and...where there is a will there is a way! It might mean changing your schedule so that you spend less time on the phone/computer at night which will enable you to get to sleep a bit earlier, and also wake up earlier. Or maybe it means taking a twenty minute nap in the afternoon so that you can have some energy to go for a power walk when all the kiddies are asleep. All you need is to find a way to carve out 30-40 minutes of your daily schedule so that you will reap the rewards of increased energy and better moods. Alternatively, splitting the 150 minutes into four times a week will also provide great health benefits and may be easier to manage. Email me for ideas if you need some help brainstorming how to fit in your exercise routine.
Making regular exercise a part of your health habits takes time, persistence, and patience. It's worth the investment and the effort. Stay tuned for more motivation and tips to live your best, most energetic life.