It’s 7 p.m., and you just made it home after another long commute from the office. You haven’t had a second to think about dinner, the kids need help with their homework, the dog needs a walk, and the unread mail is piling up on the counter. A visit to the gym is a luxury that is likely not part of this picture.
If you’re already tempted to give up on that New Year’s resolution to exercise regularly, it’s time to join the American Cancer Society Choose You® movement and make this the year you make your health a priority.
The Choose You movement helps inspire women to put their health first and make healthy lifestyle choices to stay well and help prevent cancer. Women can set a personal goal like eating right or exercising regularly – called a Choose You commitment – at ChooseYou.com, and get access to helpful videos, quizzes, and other tools, as well as blogs by other women working toward similar goals.
The American Cancer Society recommends engaging in at least 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity, above usual activities, on five or more days of the week, to help maintain a healthy weight and reduce your risk of cancer and other major diseases like diabetes and heart disease. However, on days when 30 minutes of activity at a time is just not possible, don’t give up on exercising altogether – try working in three 10-minute sessions of activity throughout your day. For example, you can do some simple exercises for 10 minutes in the morning before you start your day, take a 10-minute walk during lunch, and another 10-minute walk after dinner.
Even a little extra effort throughout the day can help you become more active:
• At work, there are plenty of opportunities to build strength. To work your lower body, do chair squats while on a conference call: Try lifting your body slightly out of your chair while typing an email, then sit back down when you hit “send.” For the upper body, do standing push-ups against a wall or use inexpensive dumbbells for midday shoulder presses (share your weights with your office-mates and schedule exercise breaks together).
• At home, incorporate strength-building exercises while doing everyday tasks. Try simple leg lifts while you’re washing dishes. While stirring a sauce with one hand, grab a can of soup and do bicep curls with the other arm. Anytime you find yourself standing still, lift yourself up at the balls of your feet for calf raises.
• While watching TV, jump rope while commercials are on or simply do jumping jacks. Try doing squats starting from a seated position on the couch. Also, work in push-ups and sit-ups anytime you’re in front of the TV.
• While taking a walk around the neighborhood, incorporate walking lunges.
• When visiting the park with friends or family, bring Frisbees or balls to play catch.
• While waiting on the kids at an outdoor sports practice, take advantage of that time to exercise by walking around the playing field or the park.
Even travelling, you can still fit extra activity into your day. On car trips, take breaks at rest stops with a picnic area so you can walk a few laps, or if you’re with family, play a quick game of tag or start a race. You can also do push-ups against a wall, and even simple stretching at each stop will keep you moving. If you’re in a city, allow a little extra time and walk to a meeting instead of driving or taking a cab. And be sure to carve out time in your schedule for a workout at the hotel gym or to swim a few laps in the pool.
Whether you set aside 30 minutes at a time to exercise or do short bursts of activity on a busy day, the most important thing is to get up and get moving – and to have some fun while you’re at it! Visit ChooseYou.com or call the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345 for more tips, tools, and resources to fit in fitness anytime and anywhere.