Simple Ways to Add Exercise to Your Daily Routine
by Cindi McMenamin
Believe it or not, one of the best ways to keep from feeling sluggish is to keep moving.
To the contrary, we tend to think the more we slow down and the more we sleep, the more energized we’ll feel. But, don’t buy the lie.
I’m constantly telling moms that being sedentary makes us more sedate. Sleeping longer makes us more sluggish. On the other hand, the more we move, the more we’ll be able to. The more energy we expend, the more we’ll have later.
Now that it’s summer, it’s easier to find ways to keep your body moving, especially in the outdoors.
Most of us don’t feel energetic when it comes to the idea of exercise. I don’t get a sudden burst of energy three times a week for my belly, butt and thighs boot camp class. There are days I almost literally drag myself there, thinking I’d rather sit at home and read a book than jump around and lift some 10-pound weights for an hour. But once I’m there, the adrenaline kicks in. The energy comes as I expend the energy. And the next day, it’s much easier to get things done…and to return to that class!
Studies show that the more you exercise, the more you raise your metabolism and resting heart rate, meaning your body will continue to work, even after you’ve stopped. That’s why people who exercise on a regular basis lose weight, have more energy, and look and feel more energetic.
However, most people today are not as active as they should be. Studies show seven out of ten Americans don’t achieve the recommended amount of regular physical activity. The U.S. Surgeon General now reports that failure to exercise at least three times a week for a duration of at least 30 minutes each time is the equivalent to smoking a pack of cigarettes a day!
With that statistic in mind, not only is it healthy to exercise, it’s extremely unhealthy not to. So exercise is no longer an option; it’s a necessity of life!
Because regular exercise is just as important as eating regularly and sleeping regularly, we must have a plan to make it happen. Here are some ways to intentionally add more exercise into your daily routine, so it becomes a lifestyle, not an option:
- Intentionally park further away at your bank, grocery, or department store so you have to walk a little further to get to the store. Those increased steps will do you good.
- Take stairs, rather than elevators or escalators. A good climb is good for your heart rate, as well as the back of your hips and thighs.
- If your destination is within reasonable walking distance, just walk. In fact, as a rule, don’t take the car if you’re going less than a mile.
- If you have young kids, or grandkids, play with them. Kids have lots of energy. Keeping up with them, especially when they’re outdoors, will keep you moving. Walk them to the park. Stroll them wherever you can. Carry them more often (that’s the equivalent to lifting weights!). Attempt to keep up with their pace.
- Do some stretches at your desk at work. Sitting up in a straight-back chair, stretch your legs out in front of you and flex your heels so your toes are straight up. (Pull in your stomach and put your shoulders back as you do this, too.) Then point your toes forward and repeat this motion 10 times. The more you intentionally and carefully stretch throughout the day, the less prone you are to injury.
- Run when you get the chance. I often find myself in a hurry and, if I’ve got good shoes on, I’ll take the opportunity to run, or at least jog to get to where I need to be. The temporary rise in your heart beat will be good for you. And regardless of what you look like running, you’ll look better in the long run for doing it.
- Keep a lookout for creative ways to keep moving. Do you have a bicycle you haven’t touched in years? If so, grab a helmet and take it for a spin. Is your local health club advertising a one-week free pass? Try it out and see if it works for you. Do your friends or relatives have a trampoline? Try it out—with the kids or grandkids—the next time you’re at their house.
Finally, find a buddy and make some personal exercise goals together. Join a class or club together. Plan to walk daily with each other in the early mornings or evenings. Hold each other accountable and reward each other for your successes. Try to outdo each other with extra exercise slipped in during the week. Like the Bible says, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down (or off of the exercise routine), his friend can help him up. But pity the man who has no one to help him up!” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10). I can’t stress the importance of having that accountability when it comes to exercise.
Make it a point today to look for an opportunity to keep moving, whether it be investigating a new exercise routine, trying out a stationary bike with a guest pass at a gym, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or doing whatever it will take to get you moving in a different way today.
Cindi McMenamin is a popular women’s conference speaker and the author of 15 books, including When a Woman Overcomes Life’s Hurts, When God Sees Your Tears, and her newest release, 10 Secrets to Becoming a Worry-Free Mom, available in all book stores. She lives in San Diego, CA, with her husband and daughter, and you can contact her at StrengthForTheSoul.com.
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