Twenty Everyday Ways to Get Moving

Do you find it difficult to fit 30 minutes of physical activity into your life every day? It may be easier than you think-even with a busy lifestyle. These everyday activities can count toward your day's total if they're done with moderate intensity-and most take only a little extra time, perhaps 10 minutes at a time.

  1. Wake up 30 minutes earlier, and take a brisk walk to start your day. Need someone to get you going? Schedule your walk with your spouse or a neighbor.
  2. Forget the drive-through car wash. Wash the car yourself. Bonus: You'll save money at the same time.
  3. Take stairs instead of the elevator or escalator. Walking up stairs is a great heart exerciser, calorie burner, and muscle builder!
  4. Park at the far end of the parking lot for a longer walk. Get off the bus a stop ahead, then walk the rest of the way to your destination. Walk your kids to and from school.
  5. Are you a computer user-on and off the job? Give yourself at least 5 minutes off for every hour or two of computer time: walk to the water fountain, or go up and down a few flights of stairs.
  6. Walk around your building-outside or inside-dur-ing your lunch or coffee break. You'll burn energy rather than being tempted to nibble on a snack.
  7. Get a dog, and walk together. No dog? Then borrow a neighbor's dog or push a baby stroller.
  8. Play actively with your kids, grandkids, or pets. Some dogs like to play with a Frisbee as much as kids do!
  9. Before and after dinner, walk-and talk-with your family. To burn more energy if you have an infant, use a baby carrier on your back rather than pushing a stroller.
  10. Do backyard gardening. (Bonus: Grow fresh vegetables and herbs if you can.) In the fall, rake leaves.
  11. Ride your bike (the kind you pedal) to work or to a friend's home-if it's safe to do. Walk to do nearby errands, such as grocery shopping for small things or going to the post office.
  12. While you watch television, do household chores or projects: mop the floor or refinish a piece of furniture. Avoid "couch potato" syndrome.
  13. Catch up with your around-the-house work: wash the windows, vacuum or shampoo the carpet, clean the garage or basement, sweep the sidewalk.
  14. Use the exercise equipment you already own. Do two things at one time: ride your stationary bicycle while you read the morning paper or a newsmagazine. Watch the morning news while you work out on your rowing machine.
  15. Push your lawn mower instead of using the powerassisted drive. Skip the snow blower; shovel the snow by hand if you're fit.
  16. Make homemade bread. Knead the dough by hand, not with a bread machine or a food processor.
  17. Use a rest room at the other end of the building so you get an opportunity to walk.
  18. Plan an active family vacation or a weekend outing. Rather than sit on a beach, go canoeing, hiking, or snow skiing.
  19. "Walk your talk!" If you like to chat on the phone, move your body while you talk. (Use hand weights while talking on the phone.)
  20. Rent an exercise video or DVD rather than a movie. And work out as a leisure-time activity.
  • Burns energy. The longer, more frequently, and more vigorously you move, the more energy you burn. When you burn more than you consume, your body uses its energy stores, and you lose weight. Just adding thirty minutes of brisk walking to your day makes a difference!
  • Helps you keep muscle and lose body fat. Without physical activity, you tend to lose lean body tissue along with body fat.
  • Builds lean body mass. Even when you're not moving, lean body mass requires more energy (calories) to maintain than fat tissue.
  • May suppress appetite a bit. In fact, people who get regular physical activity often eat less than those who don't.
  • Helps relieve stress. Remember: Stress may lead to nibbling on more food and consuming more calories than your body needs.
  • Creates a "trimmer " mind-set. As some people get more physically active, they opt for foods with less fat, fewer calories, and less added sugars. The reason? It just seems to "feel good."
  • quot;Looks good" on you. A firm, lean body from physical activity looks trimmer than one that's flabby with more body fat, even at the same weight. Think of your body as a "package" of lean tissue and body fat; muscles take less space than body fat. Although looks aren't the only reason for being physically active, they're a great side effect!

What if you need to gain weight? Because the benefits go beyond weight control, everyone needs to get moving. There's no need to cut back on physical activity unless a person's physical activity pattern is excessive—or if a physician advises a slower pace.

Weight control is just one reason to keep physically active. For other benefits, see "Ten Reasons to Make the 'RightMoves'"in chapter 1.

Simply Living an Active Lifestyle

To benefit from active living, you don't need to be an exercise fanatic with strenuous daily workouts. Step aerobics at a fitness club, kick boxing, or thirty minutes on an exercise bike every day may not be right for you. That's okay; any kind of moderate, consistent physical activity can do the job. In fact, any activity you enjoy and stay with can be the right one for you. If it's enjoyable, you're more likely to stick with it.

To get weight loss or maintenance benefits, you need to step up your physical activity, beyond what's advised for lowering chronic disease risk. In Dietary Guidelines' "talk": To help manage body weight and prevent gradual unhealthy body weight gain in adulthood, engage in approximately 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity on most days of the week while not exceeding calorie intake requirements. For weight loss during adulthood, the Dietary Guidelines advise 60 to 90 minutes daily. You might need to check with your healthcare provider before you start.

Do it all at once, or spread it out: for example, ten minutes of brisk walking during your lunch hour, fifteen minutes of leisure bike riding, and five minutes of sidewalk sweeping at home. If you haven't been physically active, then build up gradually. Get a pedometer to count your steps; work up to 10,000 steps a day. Even a little more physical activity can make a difference.

Remember: The energy expenditure of physical activity goes up in three ways. The longer, the more frequent, and the more intense your activity, the more energy you burn. Regardless, choose physical activities that you enjoy and can stick with for the rest of your life.

Even though some weight-loss regimens make "spot-reducing" promises, your body can't get rid of fat in just the problem places. As you exercise and burn more calories than you consume, your body draws energy from all its fat stores, including the problem spots. If you keep on moving, fat will eventually disappear in all the right places.

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