You may know that regular physical activity can help you control your weight. But do you know why? Physical activity burns calories. When you burn more calories than you eat each day, you will take off pounds. You can also avoid gaining weight by balancing the number of calories you burn with the number of calories you eat.

Regular physical activity may also help prevent or delay the onset of chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and colon cancer. If you have one of these health problems, physical activity may improve your condition.* Regular physical activity may also increase your energy and boost your mood.

Would you like to do more physical activity but do not know how to make it a part of your life? This booklet describes some common barriers to physical activity and ways to overcome them. After you read them, try writing down the top two or three barriers that you face. Then write down solutions that you think will work for you. You can make regular physical activity a part of your life!

Can you use any of these ideas to become more physically active?

Between work, family, and other demands, I am too busy to exercise.

Make physical activity a priority. Carve out some time each week to be active and put it on your calendar. Try waking up a half-hour earlier to walk, scheduling lunchtime workouts, or taking an evening fitness class.

Build physical activity into your routine chores. Rake the yard, wash the car, or do energetic housework. That way you do what needs to get done and move around too.

Make family time physically active. Plan a weekend hike through a park, family softball game, or an evening walk around the block.

By the end of a long day, I am just too tired to work out.

Break your workout into three 10-minute segments each day. Taking three short walks during the day may seem easier and less tiring than one 30-minute workout, and is just as good for you.

Find another time during the day to work out. If evening workouts are not for you, then try a bike ride before breakfast or a walk at lunchtime.

Sneak physical activity into your days. Take stairs instead of elevators, park further away in parking lots, and walk in place while watching TV.

I think my weight is fine, so I am not motivated to exercise.

Think about the other health benefits of physical activity. Regular physical activity may help lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and lower your odds of having heart disease, type 2 diabetes, or cancer. Research shows that people who are overweight, active, and fit live longer than people who are not overweight but are inactive, and unfit. Also, physical activity may lift your mood and increase your energy level.

Do it just for fun. Play a team sport, work in a garden, or learn a new dance and make getting fit something fun.

Train for a charity event. You can work to help others while you work out.

Getting on a treadmill or stationary bike is boring.

Meet a friend for workouts. If your buddy is on the next bike or treadmill, your workout will be less boring.

Watch TV or listen to music or a book on tape while you walk or pedal indoors. Check out music or books on tape from your local library.

Get outside. A change in scenery can relieve your boredom. If you are riding a bike outside, be sure to wear a helmet and learn safe rules of the road.

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Originally published by the FDA










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