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Easy Ways to Increase Your Physical Activity

Exercise can be a very intimidating and daunting subject for many. Whether you’re just starting a new routine or looking to build off of your current one, increasing your physical activity is not as challenging as you may think. Before we explore different ways to increase your activity, let me remind you of a few things.

First, you need to identify your goal (or goals). Right now, for most all of you, your primary goal is weight loss – and not some kind of performance-based result, like completing a 10K race. This is important to consider because it will help shape the manner in which you increase your physical activity. If we don’t need to focus on improving your strength and conditioning, we can moderate the intensity and duration of your activities.

Knowing that weight loss is the main goal, your focus should still be on your meal plan. Keep up with all of your good eating habits, especially consuming protein at regular 3-hour intervals and don’t eat any “naked carbs.” The role of the physical activity is to help you maximize your good efforts and results – keeping you on track with your healthy eating plan. Another thing to keep in mind is that the additional physical activity does not cause you to feel significantly more hunger or fatigue.

In order to figure out the best way to incorporate physical activity, consider the following:

  • Even with an hour of exercise a day, more than 75% of your daily energy expenditure comes from your resting metabolism and daily life activities.
  • Studies show that you can yield health benefits of exercise from as little as 10 minutes of physical activity. This means that by simply being as active as possible in your daily and weekly routine, you can directly increase your metabolism. Also, you don’t need to have 30-60 minutes set aside in your schedule in order to be more active. Everyone has 10 minutes to spare each day.

So, focus your physical activities in these 2 areas:

  1. Make it a habit to increase activity in your daily life by walking and performing resistance, weight-bearing movements as much as possible:
    • Take the stairs instead of elevator/escalator
    • Park further or walk instead of driving.
    • Bring your groceries into the house one bag at a time.
    • Take work meetings/phone calls while walking or standing, rather than sitting.
    • Rotate the backrest on your chair to the side or sit on a stability ball to engage more of your core while you sit.
    • Do some lower body exercises while sitting at work or watching TV: leg lifts, calf raises, wall sits.
    • Work on your yard or do some gardening.
    • Sweep, vacuum, dust, and clean.
    • Do home improvement projects like, painting.
    • Use an activity monitor, like a Fitbit or a pedometer, to track your progress. It is also a great tool for keeping motivated.
  1. Make physical activity and movement a regular habit by starting a short exercise routine. Then gradually build it up incrementally.
    • Start with a doable duration of 10 minutes a day, and incorporate that into your schedule. You might start by walking 10 minutes after dinner everyday for the first 2 weeks.
    • Add 5 minutes to your routine every 2 weeks.
    • Incorporate resistance exercises, starting twice a week. You don’t have to use weights or be in a gym to do these movements. Body weight movements at home work just as well.
    • Add another day of resistance exercises every 2 weeks.
    • In a few weeks, you’ll be up to 30 minutes a day with 5 days of resistance exercises!

And as always, we’re here to help. Talk to your health coach and we’ll figure out how to keep you moving!