Exercise: Fitting It into Your Life

Recent studies show that several short activity breaks during the day can add up to better health. You don’t have to fit your life around activity. Instead, you can fit activity into your daily life.

Senior man with water bottle on treadmill, smiling.

Getting Started

Take a minute to look at your day. From start to finish, there are bits of time that could add up to a gold mine of activity. You just have to find them. It may be while you’re waiting for water to boil or for a computer to start. All you need is 30 minutes of movement on most days to find better health. Aim for a total of 150 or more minutes a week. You can do whatever movement suits you. Examples are walking, jogging in place, and climbing up and down stairs. Your choices will always be ones that work best for you.

Act Like a Kid

What young child ever wants to sit still? Kids never plan activity. They just move. Here are some ideas to help you act more like a kid:

  • Dress to move. Comfortable shoes and clothing help you want to move more. Stand more at meetings. Or walk to the farthest water fountain on a break.

  • Be a participant, not an observer. Forget the sidelines. Jump in for a game of Ping-Pong or to shoot a few baskets.

  • Seek active fun. Kids don’t sit and chat over soda. They jump and run. So instead of sitting over coffee to visit with a friend, stroll through a park or mall.

Just Move

Build bits of movement into what you already do. Let’s look at some examples of ways you can start:

Instead of: sitting in the bleachers at your child’s soccer game or in the doctor’s waiting room,

Try to: do a lap around the field or take a quick walk up and down the stairs.

Instead of: choosing electric or power tools and appliances,

Try to: whip, mix, mow, or hammer by hand.

Instead of: sending an e-mail or voicemail at work,

Try to: walk to your coworker to talk in person.

Instead of: just sitting while watching TV or driving a car,

Try to: tighten your abdominal (stomach) muscles for a minute, or stretch your shoulders or neck.

Instead of: taking an elevator or escalator at the mall,

Try to: walk up the escalator or find stairs to use.