Weekly fitness guidelines can seem like a laundry list of to-do’s that you just can’t get done — 30 minutes of cardio at least five days, resistance training two or three times and at least two flexibility sessions.
Yet each type of exercise does the body good, according to the American College of Sports Medicine, so it’s important to find ways to meet these goals.
First, recognize that an exercise program will mean changes to your daily routine, and you’ll likely need to cut out other activities. Aim for a gradual transition and look to replace non-essential pastimes, like binge watching TV series or surfing the web.
Next, draw up a realistic schedule that works with your lifestyle and, for a better chance of sticking to it, write it down. Realize that if you have a family that expects you home at 6 p.m. for dinner, hitting the gym after work won’t work. Instead, block out 30 minutes after the kids go to bed or get up 30 minutes early and get in a workout while the house is still quiet. You might double up on workouts on days you do get to the gym by taking both cardio and flexibility classes.
Make exercise convenient. Maybe the gym near your home is a better choice than one near your office. Look for a nature trail or a track near your kids’ soccer practice and get moving while they’re playing. If you’ll be exercising at home, create a designated space and outfit it with essentials — like a mat, free weights and DVDs you can pop into a laptop.
And don’t forget to plan weekend family outings that involve walking or other exercise. No one said you can’t have fun while getting fit!
The U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has recommendations for physical activity.