The big question for many people is how to make exercise a habit. Everyone knows that healthy exercise is critical to good health but many
“The best exercise is the one that you’ll do!”
– William Sears, MD
It’s no secret, exercise is essential to your health! When mixed with the right nutrition, exercise is your best heart medicine. Exercise doesn’t have to mean a full-blown session in the gym or training for a triathlon. When it comes to heart medicine, “exercise” is really any movement that gets your heart pumping, like walking, dancing or swimming.
Movement not only prevents blood vessels from clogging but can also help re-open vessels that are already clogged. Movement is also the only cholesterol-lowering medication that has no side effects!
Many people think they are just too busy to work out, but not so fast! You can easily move every day, no matter where you are.
Here are five simple ways to incorporate movement into your day:
1. Take a 5-minute break from work every hour and take a walk around the office. If you work for 8 hours, that’s 40 minutes of walking a day!
2. Workout on your lunch break, even if that means doing simple body-weight exercises like squats, lunge walks or even jump roping in the parking lot.
3. Park far, far away from your office so you have to walk further to get inside.
4. Do “The Secret Handshake.” Sit up with your feet flat on the floor. Clasp your hands together as if giving yourself a handshake, with one hand’s thumb pointing to the floor and the other pointing to the ceiling. Then pull and feel the resistance in both your arms. Hold for 10 seconds or more, release and repeat.
5. Take the stairs. Yes, a common recommendation, but an effective one!
Every bit of movement you can do will support a healthy heart. The five suggestions above are ways to increase your movement each day, but in addition, you should aim to do 30-60 minutes of cardio at least 3 days a week.
Want to get your whole family moving? It’s always easier to stay consistent when you have a whole team keeping each other accountable. Plus nothing is better than knowing your family is in good health. Here are some great ideas to get you started.
5 Ideas for a Family Exercise Plan
1. Make a Rule: No TV or video games on weekdays or before playing outside for at least 30 minutes.
2. Set an Example: Save your walk for when your kids get home from school and take them with you. Let them ride their bike if they can’t keep your pace!
3. Develop a Routine: Find a physical activity that your family enjoys doing together and schedule it into your calendars at least once a week. Also, encourage and schedule after school playtime with other children.
4. Play Sports Together: If you have older kids, play a game of baseball, basketball or soccer. You can go to the local park or just play in your own backyard!
5. Plan an Active Family Vacation: For your next family vacation, plan to do something that involves activities like bike riding, hiking, swimming or dancing.
And there you have it! The answer to how to make exercise a habit is to just start. Don’t over complicate the process. Do what works for you and your schedule and make it fun. Pretty soon it’ll be automatic AND your heart will thank you.
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