Three Ways to Move More

We all know that physical activity is good for us, but it can be a challenge to fit fitness into a busy schedule. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that adults accumulate 150 minutes of moderate (or 75 minutes of vigorous) physical activity every week. This may seem like a lot, but every minute adds up! Activity bursts of five minutes here and there throughout your day  accumulate to help you reach your movement goals.  Here are three simple ways to add more movement to your day!

Set an Alarm Use an app on your smart phone or set periodic appointments on your calendar to remind yourself to stand up at least once every hour. Movement breaks can include standing to stretch, a quick walk around your office, or some chair squats to really get the blood flowing!

Be an Ele-voider If you think you don’t have time to take the stairs, think again! A study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal showed that taking the stairs rather than waiting for the elevator saved about 15 minutes each workday. That’s a 3% savings of time per workday, which could translate into more productivity as well as increased fitness.

Take Your Breaks Break times and lunch hours are the perfect opportunity to get some movement in! Make it a goal to get up and walk for 10-15 minutes each day during lunch. After the work week you will have added 50-75 minutes of activity to your weekly total! The added bonus is that mid-day activity has been shown to boost mood and increase one’s ability to manage stress.

Ho-hum doldrums

Are you with me? Last night I looked at my activity tracker at 10:00 p.m. and it read 3256 steps. I sighed. I did not leap up and walk in place. I did not chastise myself. I did not list the reasons for so few steps. I just sighed. I have a bad case of the doldrums. It’s actually difficult to remember the last surge of real energy I have felt. Some would call this the doldrums, some the winter blues. Either way, it just feels like marking time till things get magically better. Well enough! Here are some tips to get you out of the doldrums What is your favorite way to dump the doldrums?

Don’t be a bear.

Hibernating this winter? Had enough of the snow, ice, and sub-zero weather? Are the kids turning on you? Stop! When winter weather forces you indoors it’s time to deal with all that pent-up energy. Find creative ways to get and stay active during these cold months. It’s a challenge, but you can conquer those winter doldrums! So, before you settle into the recliner tonight… consider these ideas
  • Create a home gym with easy-to-use, affordable equipment (soup cans, detergent bottles, balance ball, jump rope, resistance bands, kitchen chair, stairs, doorframe, broom …)
  • Get outside once a day but dress for cold weather
  • Do your chores to music – step up and MOVE
  • Be healthy – clean out your pantry; check those food product dates
  • Walk the mall or the airport (if you are traveling)
  • Stay Active
  • Read or listen to a book
  • Play a board game; set a puzzle
  • Check out these Ways to Keep Kids Busy Indoors
  • A few more ideas…Treasure Hunts, Indoor Obstacle Course, Dance Off and more!
And remember…spring is coming!

Energy Management

For years you have heard about time management as a tool to get things done. I’ve switched my thinking – now I think it’s energy management. Energy is like the currency of high performance. Increasing your personal energy level can result in higher motivation, better problem solving, greater success with complex tasks, better concentration, and an overall positive, can-do attitude. Try it! Do an energy audit. Start by identifying the top three things that drain your energy. When you know what drains your energy you can design ways to manage those things. Some common “drains” are stress, clutter, noise, poor health, lack of sleep, poor diet, lack of movement, lack of direction. Now identify three things you can do that replenish or boost your energy level when it’s low. Some common “boosters” are sleep, relaxation, brainstorming, exercise… What is your top energy drain and your top energy booster?

Fatigued?

Of course I’m “fatigued” – isn’t everybody? I have a pretty good idea why and like most people, I just want to know how to fix it. Fatigue is a feeling of weariness, tiredness, or a lack of energy. Fatigue can often be traced to habits and routines…sleep, nutrition, exercise, stress, schedules, unrealistic expectations and on and on. So, how do you kick vigor back into life without making a major life change or upsetting everything? Check out these tips to boost energy levels. Two that always surprise me are relaxation and exercise. They seem so wrong when I am already dragging my wagon! Relaxation techniques – yoga, breathing, mindfulness – actually break the drain that anxiety has on your energy level. Movement and exercise boost energy. Another close link exists between the quality of your sleep and fatigue. For tips on getting a better night’s sleep, check out How’s Your Sleep?  Fight fatigue! check out 10 Ways to Reduce Stress and Revitalize Your Life.