Hello, Sweet Foodie fans! I’m Megan, and I blog over at The Lyons’ Share Wellness, where I share tips on fitness, healthy and delicious food, and overall health. Caroline and I were sorority sisters in college, and I am so happy we’ve been able to reconnect over our mutual passion for helping others live healthier lives.
Caroline has the food portion covered here at Sweet Foodie, so today I want to talk to you about the other major component of a healthy lifestyle … fitness. If you’re like most Americans, you know that you “should” be exercising, but find it nearly impossible to squeeze into your busy life. In fact, the CDC reports that only about 20% of Americans meet the aerobic and muscle strengthening portions of the government’s physical activity recommendations!
Personally, I find exercise to be a huge source of stress relief, energy, and self-confidence, but if you shudder when you even hear the word “exercise,” I’m here to help you find ways to sneak some movement into your day-to-day life without setting aside a huge portion of time to hit the gym.
I can’t get started on my tips without covering just a few benefits of exercise, to make sure you’re motivated. The list could go on for quite some time (I elaborated a bit more in this blog post), but here are a few of my favorites:
- Lower risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, some forms of cancer, and many other chronic conditions (The US Department of Health & Human Services lists some here)
- Weight loss or maintenance
- Better mood and increased energy
- Stress relief and general mental clarity
The best news is that you can get the benefits of exercise in many different ways – not just by spending hours on the treadmill or the elliptical machine.
Here are my top tips to fit exercise into your busy life:
- Only answer the phone when you’re on your feet. When my phone rings, I automatically stand up from my desk. Most of us spend too much time sitting at our computers, so standing up while you’re on the phone can be a great way to stretch out your legs. If I’m at home, I might do some squats while I’m on the phone, or if at all possible, I head outside and take a short walk while chatting.
- Forget the car. I have a rule with myself that I’m “not allowed” to drive my car anywhere within a mile. Fortunately, I live in a great area where I can walk to do several errands, as well as go to restaurants and bars all by foot. My husband and I also have a goal of trying a new restaurant that we can walk to every single month. Bonus points if you have to carry bags back home from your errands!
- Grease the groove. I recently did a blog post about “greasing the groove,” or creating exercise habits that go along with everyday tasks. For example, every time I open Facebook, I do 15 push-ups. You’d be amazed at how much exercise you can fit into your day without ever spending more than 60-seconds at a time doing it!
- Find a fun activity and do it with a friend. Think about what you liked as a child. Did you dance every time the music came on? Try a Zumba, step, or dance class at a local gym. Were you always outside? Go for a walk, a run, or a bike ride together. Did you love your T-ball team? Sign up for an adult kickball team – a great way to make new friends and get some exercise.
- Sign up for a race. Races are not just for those who want to win. In fact, signing up for a local 5K or 10K is a great way to motivate yourself to get active … somehow, seeing the date looming on your calendar and knowing that you’ve already paid for the race helps you find that extra little bit of time in your day where you could be exercising. The atmosphere and can-do attitude of race day is incredibly motivating, too!
- Do short, at-home interval workouts. Quick bursts of intensity are just as good (or even better) for you than long, lower-intensity exercise sessions. So if you really want to make it count, work hard for just a short amount of time! You can find quick interval workouts with minimal equipment on YouTube or Pinterest, or check out some of my Lyons’ Share Workouts and a post I did on fun ways to exercise at home or in your hotel room! Here’s one example of a 15-minute workout I like to do when I’m short on time (see my original post for explanations of each move and video demonstrations).
See? It doesn’t have to be so hard. I want to challenge you to do at least one of these today. I bet you’ll feel energized and accomplished! If you want more tips on living a healthy lifestyle, feel free to subscribe to my blog to get email updates, or find me on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, or Twitter!