Fitting in fitness
The amount of physical activity you need depends on your current health status, as well as your health and fitness goals. But generally speaking, a good goal is to include at least 30 minutes of physical activity or exercise in your daily schedule.
Sometimes that can be easier said than done — we all have days where we're challenged by time, discomfort or a lack of motivation. But here are some tips that may help you more regularly fit in fitness:
- Choose what you like — The best exercise is the one you’ll do consistently.
- Be flexible — The best time to exercise is whenever you can.
- Remember that all movement counts — Walking to the store, weeding the garden and cleaning the house count as physical activity.
- Break it up — Three 10-minute sessions of brisk walking can provide almost the same benefits that one 30-minute session does.
- Mix it up — Try new types of exercise and don’t feel tied to one activity.
- Plan activity breaks — Include time in your day to stretch and move around. Walk to get some water. Walk up and down a few flights of stairs.
- Find opportunities to move — When you talk on the phone or check your email stand instead of sit. When watching your favorite TV program or reading a book, walk on a treadmill or pedal a stationary bike.
- Find a fitness partner — Having one will make exercise more fun, and it will help you stick with your activity plan.
- Don’t overdo it — If you’ve been inactive, start slowly and give your body a chance to get used to increased activity. A common mistake is starting an activity program at too high an intensity.
What are your own roadblocks to fitting in physical activity? What has helped you overcome them? Leave a comment below.
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I run 2 to 3 miles most days. Is this good enough or do I need strength training also?
Hi @tove, welcome to Mayo Clinic Connect. Congrats on running 2-3 miles most days. Strength training is an important part of an overall fitness program. When I added strength training, I found it made the running easier. And there are additional benefits for bones and muscles as well, especially as we age.
Here's an article from Mayo Clinic that explains what strength training can do for you — and how to get started.
– Strength training: Get stronger, leaner, healthier https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/strength-training/art-20046670
I like doing simple exercises that use my own body weight and don't require extra equipment or going to the gym, like pushups, squats and triceps pushup, and things like that. I'm also trying to do better by adding more stretching into my day.
Do you have any stretching tips to share?
I also do strength training 2 days per week
You have a good fitness routine. As @colleenyoung said stretching is essential especially those hamstrings. I also do planks for core strength and walk daily and my senior gym class really focuses on exercises for balance and strength to prevent falls.
I would integrate stretching into your daily movements. A simple bending over touching your toes while waiting for the microwave for example. Stretch exercises for the neck are good because so often we are looking down at our phones, iPads etc. Even sitting watching tv you can raise your legs up and down and rotate your ankles. Stretch when you reach up to get a dish from the cabinet. It will all become second nature after awhile.
I like to think of myself as a rubber band that will get all dried out and snap if I don’t constantly stretch it.
Good health to all
Thanks. I have started to incorporate your suggestions and am now including the stretches you described.
Mary, I love the visual of thinking of yourself as a rubber band that will get all dried out and snap if you don’t constantly stretch it. I also love the saying "motion is lotion." I repeat it to myself as I do my morning wake up movements.
Oooo I like “motion is lotion”. Going to tell my gym instructor that one.
I do all my exercises in the pool. Great for seniors
I do Also👍
May I post that I teach Active Stretching classes twice a week via ZOOM? I will be 80 years old in August, and I have students who have been stretching with me for nearly twenty years. Since moving from in-person classes to ZOOM-only classes due to the pandemic, I now have an international student population. I used the pandemic isolation time to create my own YouTube channel where I teach Active Stretching. I was recently told by a medical technician doing heart tests, I have the heart of a 50 year old. I attribute this diagnosis to my stretching activity. I'm still going strong with no plans to slow down. My slogan: You have to keep moving to keep moving.