Everyone is busy. We are. Our patients are. You are. In this society, and in this economy, everyone is trying to do more with less (including time used to do all the things that we need to do). In our practice, almost every patient that we treat has some form of ‘homework’ following an office treatment, meaning some activity that they are asked to do to help them feel better. That is quite a challenge for us, given everyone’s time limits.
As I tell my patients, ‘I can give you enough exercises for that shoulder (or knee, or back), to keep you busy for 2 hours. The problem is you will probably not do it, because I am sure that I would not do it myself!’ My goal is condense all the things that I would LIKE to do, into 10 or 15 minutes of things that I MUST do to get better.
Now, let’s take that idea and apply it to something that applies to us all-exercise. We know that exercise is good for us. We know we should do it. We hear that 3 hours of exercise per week is necessary for good health. But who has 3 hours a week to spare?
First of all, you need to re-think what you thought was exercise. Perhaps it is more than going to the gym. Perhaps it is more than getting changed into ‘workout’ clothes and running a few miles.
Here are some tips for easily ‘sneaking in’ exercise throughout your week:
1. Buy a pedometer. For less than $10, you can get a good quality pedometer that you attach to your belt. The number to remember is 10,000. Everyday, try to walk 10,000 steps. This may be the single best and easiest way to burn calories in your day. For example, while talking on your cell phone, walk. Having a meeting? Make it a walking meeting. The increased blood flow may even give you extra brainpower as well!
2. When standing in line somewhere (grocery store, restaurant, shopping), stand on 1 foot as long as you can. You are working on balance, coordination, agility, and leg strength.
3. Standing still near a wall? Put your back against the wall, slide down 3 inches, and hold it for 30 seconds.
4. Sitting in a chair with armrests? Put your hands on the armrests, and try to push up with out using your legs until your arms are straight.
5. Reading this at the breakfast table? Read standing up!
6. My favorite tip of all: don’t park so close! Park at the end of the parking lot and walk in from there. You added 1 minute to your errands, but burned calories and stretched your legs.
So, try to re-think the idea of exercise, and get sneaky about ways to fit in a little bit of moving your body! I’ll look for you standing on 1 foot at the mall!