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Finding Time for Exercise
A couple months ago I was on the phone with my sister. She was telling me about her job, her personal life, and how she started an exercise regimen. When she told me she started exercising before work I almost dropped the phone! My sister is not what I’d call a “morning person” so I was very curious how she was able to make this happen. She told me hearing the alarm go off is a bit of shock and it’s a little hard to get out of bed, but explained it’s all worth it when she leaves the gym at 7:30 AM with a workout under her belt. She has more energy throughout the day and sleeps better at night. This conversation got me thinking about my own exercise routine. I much prefer exercising after work. It gives me a good amount of energy to run errands, cook dinner, and get things done around the house.
When I talk about exercise to my patients, I inform them it’s recommended to do 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity. It’s best to spread this out over at least three days per week. It’s also best to do two days of resistance training as long as there aren’t any contraindications. Most of my patients tell me they really do enjoy exercise, but the biggest battle seems to be finding the time. Given that exercise is beneficial mentally and physically, it’s important to squeeze it in. If you’re contemplating starting a routine, here are some tips:
- Take a good look at your day. Try to figure out when there are available time slots. If it’s before, during, or after work start doing something 1-2 days per week.
- Too tired after work? Remember that physical activity really does increase energy, so try to do something either before work or on a break.
- Every step counts! If you get a lunch break, use it! If you don’t have time for a 30 minute walk, a 5-10 minute still counts for something.
- If you can walk to work, do it a couple days per week. Or get off the subway or bus one stop before where you normally get off. If you drive to work, try to park farther away.
- Still not motivated to start? Ask a friend to join you! Whether it’s walking together a couple times per week or taking a class at a community center or gym, it can be easier to go with someone else.
Bottom line, it’s important to make the time. Start doing something, whether it’s walking, biking, dancing, or swimming for 10-15 minutes a couple days. Week after week, make the duration of exercise sessions longer and add in an extra day or two. Before you know, it will be part of your lifestyle and you’ll likely look forward to it!