Even if you’re absolutely determined to meet your goal of being physically active for 90 minutes daily, you may still find yourself wondering how on earth you’re going to make it happen.
Today, we’re going to share a few strategies to ensure you can meet your goals and increase your daily activity level.
Switch Your Mindset
Often, the biggest obstacle to people taking on more physical activity in their days is the sheer amount of time it requires. When you factor in changing clothes, driving, the activity itself, showering after, and driving home, even a “quick” half-hour gym visit can easily stretch to an hour or more.
If you’re trying to incorporate a full ninety minutes of exercise into your day it may seem impossible at first to come up with the spare time. Between work, commute time, hobbies, family, relationships, sleep, and household chores, our time is in steep demand!
The key to overcoming this obstacle is to not look at physical activity as a practice that occurs separate from your life, and instead see it as something you can incorporate into your life.
Make it a Part of Your Day
Instead of looking at this habit as requiring an additional 90 minutes in your day that you can devote exclusively to physical activity, look for ways to incorporate activity into your entire day.
The University of New Hampshire has a few suggestions to help you make it happen:
- Take the stairs. You’ve probably heard this one before but taking the stairs is a great way to add movement to your day and increase your heart rate. Also, if you continually take the stairs you’ll be able to see the results of your body being active when you can reach the top without being out of breath.
- Take a walk. Sitting for extended periods of time has been proven to have negative effects such as higher risk for heart disease, obesity, cancer, etc. Taking a break every hour or so to get up and walk around will help prevent some of these negative effects and get you moving.
- Wake up and work out. Before getting ready for work do a couple sets of crunches and push-ups or jumping jacks. It won’t take a lot of time and it will set a positive and healthy tone for the rest of your day.
- Wear a pedometer. It is really easy to track your steps. Even if you don’t have a fitness tracker, your phone automatically keeps track of how many steps you are taking when you have it with you. Seeing the number of steps you take get higher and higher throughout the day is fun and it is always a great feeling to see that you’ve met your step goal.
- Add movement to housework. Focus on posture and the different muscle groups you’re using while doing chores such as vacuuming or washing the dishes. For added exercise, listen to music while doing housework- dancing will add some activity to your day and add some fun to your chores.
[From The University of New Hampshire Healthy UNH]
Basically, instead of looking at this physical activity as needing to happen in a solid 90-minute chunk, which probably feels challenging for most of us, try six 15-minute activity sessions instead. Suddenly, this habit seems a lot more possible!
Make it Non-Negotiable
The other obstacle to meeting your goal of 90 minutes of physical activity each day is your own motivation (or lack thereof!). After a long day or a bad sleep, getting active for an hour and a half can be a pretty tough sell.
If you take out the option, however, you’ll have no choice but to do the activity and meet your goal!
Let’s say you commute to work each day. Figure out how long it would take to walk to and/or from work and make that your mode of transportation instead. Walking 45 minutes to and from work each day adds up to ninety minutes and bam! Just like that, you’ve met your goal, helped the environment, and given your body a chance to decompress before and after an intense workday.
It doesn’t have to be walking, either. You could bike or rollerblade to work as well, which are especially useful options if you have a long commute that’s too far to walk each day.
Make it Fun
If neither of these options sounds like it’ll work for you, don’t be afraid to try a completely different approach. Instead of looking at physical activity as an obligation, try to find ways to make it fun instead!
HuffPost suggests a few ways you can bring a sense of playfulness into your physical activity:
- Exercise with a friend
- Join a class
- Pump up the volume and play music during physical activity to keep yourself motivated
- Play games like WiiFit or actual sports
- Try exercise videos
- Go outside – try swimming or playing frisbee
- Revisit your childhood – try skipping rope, jumping on a trampoline, or playing tag
[Adapted from Huffington Post]
Regardless of how you make this habit happen, keep reminding yourself why you’re doing it in the first place! Getting enough exercise improves virtually every aspect of your life – sleep, stress levels, weight loss, energy, and mood. This habit is worth sticking to!
Next up, we’re going to get specific about ways to seamlessly integrate activity into your day – including exercises, strategies, and sample schedules. Stay tuned!