Our goal this month has been giving you small healthy changes each week that can make huge benefits to health, long term. So far, we have covered how to make small dietary changes as well as simple lifestyle changes.
This week we will focus on making simple exercise changes to improve health. Not only does exercise help shrink your waistline, it also reduces the risk of depression and other mental health disorders, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, osteoporosis, and even cancer.
Exercise may seem intimidating. But with these tips you will see it does not involve anything more than moving your body, and this could be your one small healthy change you start with.
Tip #3: Incorporate Exercise Into Your Daily Routine Without Even Knowing It
Because of the demands of everyday life, it’s not always easy to find time to visit a gym for your exercise needs. Your mornings may be filled with getting the kids ready for school as well as getting yourself out the door in a presentable fashion.
After work you may have to rush home to make dinner or get the kids to soccer practice. As a busy adult, there’s not much time in the day for you to spend on yourself. That’s why you have to get creative about your exercise.
Most people think that exercise has to be strenuous in order to be effective. But that couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, a recent study concluded that moderate walking and vigorous running both produced similar results for reducing the risk of hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, diabetes, and coronary heart disease.
This brings us to our first example: start slowly!
Example #1: Walk More
The battle between walkers and runners can be fierce. But now that we know the health results produced by both are so similar, we don’t have to worry about finding time in our busy schedule to fit in a run.
Incorporating more walking into your daily routine is easy. You just have to look for ways to do it. For example, if you work at a professional office building, start by parking far away. Ladies, if you wear heels to work, pack them in a bag. Wear your walking shoes out of the house and change shoes once you get into work. (Your back will thank you for it later!)
You may find it helpful to set a minimum amount of steps you want to take each day and then invest in a device that keeps track. Achieving small goals throughout the day can make a big difference. Challenge yourself everyday to walk more. This may include walking to and from lunch, walking up and down steps when the baby is sleeping, or simply walking around your place of employment every hour or so. You may even want to get to work early so you can do laps around your building.
To stay hydrated throughout the day and while you’re walking, be sure to carry an alkaline water bottle with you for access to hydrogen rich water at all times.
Example #2: Bike to Work
We understand that not everyone is in a position to bike to and from work. But if you are, take advantage of it! You will be burning calories and saving the work from more pollution at the same time.
If you don’t think this is possible, try to get creative. Leave a clean outfit at your work the day before you ride in. You may want to even want to leave a bag of personal hygiene items to make sure your appearance is spot on throughout the day.
Example #3: Get Your Family Involved
If taking care of the kids has taken over your time for yourself, then it’s time to plan a family exercise hour! Let your kids take turns picking out the form of exercise. This will help them stay involved and ensures you get a good workout without hearing lots of complaints.
If the weather is nice, your family exercise hour could be a walk to the park following by push-ups and sit-ups at the park while your kids play. If you’re stuck inside, try an exercise video or make up your own program. Jumping jacks, running in place, squats, push-ups and sit-ups are all things you can do at home. If your kids don’t want to participate, have them keep count for you. Encourage them to give it a try too.
Be sure to recover from your workouts with a quality plant-based protein powder!
Example #4: Become an Early Riser
Try getting up 20 minutes earlier every morning to get some exercise in. Yoga is a great, quiet activity if you need to be respectful of other sleeping members in your household.
Yoga is great for combating anxiety and depression. A 2012 study showed that yoga may be able to play a preventative and protective role in maintaining mental health.
If you can spare an hour each morning, try finding a local yoga center that has an early morning class. Especially if you are new to yoga, a class taught by a professional will ensure you are getting a proper workout.
Please be sure to consult your doctor before starting any exercise program.
How do you incorporate exercise into your daily life? And will exercise be your #onesmallhealthychange? Share with us on our Water for Health Facebook page!