Thursday, February 23, 2012

Yes, You Can Exercise on a Tight Schedule!

     We’re at the tail end of winter and there’s a good chance that indoor time has resulted in a few extra pounds. If you’re squeezing into your jeans, maybe it’s time to squeeze in some exercise. A study in The Lancet says that fifteen minutes of exercise each day can add an average of three years to a person’s life. So what does a fifteen-minute workout look like? Here are some ideas:

  • Take a brisk stroll around the parking lot at work. 
  • Climb your building’s stairs at lunchtime. 
  • Circle the playground while your kids play. 
  • Walk the perimeter of the field during your son’s soccer practice. 
     Walking requires no special training and everyone knows how to do it. Keep in mind that aerobic exercise should increase your heart rate, but allow you to carry on a conversation. So find a friend and start moving!

     Strength training is another fifteen-minute goal. Muscle strength and bone density dwindle as years go by—mainly due to inactivity. When you lose muscle, it sets the stage for falls, injuries and dependence on others. Muscle strength does a couple of things for you: it improves your balance, keeps blood sugar levels in check because muscles absorb sugar, and combats weight gain because most metabolism occurs at the muscle level.

     Weight training equipment can be simple like hand weights, resistance tubes, strength bands, or a small bag of cat litter—but it does require some know-how. A certified personal trainer can show you how to perform a resistance workout at a reasonable hourly rate. Once you know the correct form and exercise, make it fun by performing reps while watching your favorite TV show.

     If you don’t want to shell out the bucks for a personal trainer, Your Health Matter TV features two excellent videos with personal trainer Donna Clevenger from Total Rehab Care at Robinwood:
  1. Turning your home into a gym 
  2. Home exercises for Seniors 
     It’s a good idea to alternate aerobic and strength training during the week. And remember, we’re talking fifteen minutes. Everyone can find a quarter of an hour each day to improve your health. Think less sitting and more doing.

By Anne Gill

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