Thursday, October 27, 2011

Finding the Time

Hello, all! Darryl, here with my 1st post!

Welcome to life in the 21st century, where many of us struggle to find the time to do many of the necessary things in life, let alone engage in "me-time". For many of us, that me-time may be engaging in exercise and we don't allow the time for it. If we're to overcome this, we have to change the way we think about exercise and instead of looking at it as a luxury, need to look at it as a necessity.

Part of the problem for many is that it is looked at as something we must set about 2 hours aside for to see substantial benefit and can be instantly turned off by such a daunting length of time, particularly if already fatigued or pushed for time. But I'm here to tell you that simply isn't true. Here is some advise for people with time constraints due to work, travel, school or family commitments:

1.) Pick a time that will work for you. If your energy level is at it's peak at one particular point of the day, pencil that in as the time you will exercise. For some, it may be an hour before you go to work in the morning. For others, you may catch a little time between work and school, or be able to take a walk pushing your child in a stroller. Maybe it is some combination of morning and evening.

2.) Be creative. Exercise can be as simply as wearing a pedometer and counting the steps you take at work or throughout your day. Shoot for a total of 10,000 steps (about 5 miles). What you don't catch during the routine of your day, top off with a long walk at the end of your day. Even in bad weather, a treadmill works nicely or even going to the mall to walk it is an option.

3.) Find something you enjoy and will stick with. I can't stress this enough. Too many people bite of more than they can chew or try to prep themselves to compete in American Gladiators and burn themselves out, become discouraged or sucuumb to the injury bug. Unless you're training for a specific purpose, you can pick and choose. All that is required to maintain a baseline of fitness is 20-30 minutes of continuous cardiovascular activity at least 60% of your maximum heart rate (your age minus 220= maximum heart rate; for a 40 year old, that would be 180 beats per minute. 60% of that would be 108 BPM).

4.) Do body-weight exercises. You don't need to belong to a gym and pay extra money to have some muscle tone. Push-ups a great for of upper-body exercise (you can do these on your knees if too difficult). You can perform squats with your own body weight for your legs and there are a host of abdomenal exercises that can be done without equipment.

5.) Multitasking. Need to study for that exam? Got a good book you want to finish? No problem. A lot of these things can be worked into your routine. There are many books available for download that can be played on MP3 or IPod while walking or using a piece of exercise apparatus. I've seen many people (myself included) reading on a recumbent or upright bike, walking on a treadmill or using a stair-stepper. I've done pushups while watching a movie or read a book in between sets. When my children were small, I used to have them lie on my back while I did pushups or run around the yard or ran with them while they rode their bikes or scooters and can incorporate family time into the equation.

Most of all, be safe! Burning the candle at too many ends will lead to burnout not just in exercise, but in life as well. Your mental health is what is going to allow you to take advantage of your physical health. I truly believe you can't have the second one without the first one!

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