As readers of previous posts already know, I’m not a huge fan of "official" exercise. By official, I mean 45 minutes of weights twice per week, 60 minutes of cardio five times a week, that sort of thing. Why not? Because this type of workout regimen is like a diet. You’re either on the program, or you’re off. If life gets hectic and you have to skip your workout for a few days, next thing you know you’ve let the whole concept of exercise slide until the next time you can gather up motivation. Like after New Year’s.
But just because I’m not a workout evangelist doesn’t mean you’re off the hook.
By the way, if you really love your daily jog or bike or fitness class, and you have no problems fitting it into your schedule, great! By all means, keep it up. But if you don’t enjoy exercise, or don’t have time for it, and figure you may as well just sit on the couch, think again.
A study widely reported last spring suggested that short, regular intervals of activity throughout the day may be just as effective, if not more so, as doing one long workout. Those short intervals could include walking up a few flights of stairs, washing your car, raking leaves -- you get the picture.
When you think about it, it makes sense. Nature probably didn’t mean for us to exert intense physical effort for one hour and then sit on our butts for the other 23. More than likely, our bodies were designed to move around and do various tasks as we go about our daily lives.
So if you don’t have an extra hour in your day to set aside for exercise (and honestly, not everyone does), or if you just dislike structured workout programs, don’t throw in the towel! Take a ten-minute break from your desk and walk around the building. Hike across the mall parking lot instead of grabbing the space closest to the entrance. Tidy up your garden for the winter. Play with your dog. Personally, I find vacuuming the whole house, top to bottom, to be a pretty good workout -- plus you end up with clean floors.
There are lots of activities that count as exercise, without having to go to the gym. What are your favorites?