So where do you start? Escaping from a sedentary lifestyle can seem daunting, but it doesn’t need to be. Here are some tips for developing and maintaining a regular physical activity regimen.
Just start, no matter how small! The rule with exercise is that none is bad, some is good, and more is better. Don’t worry if you can’t meet the recommendations right away. Be patient, and aim for progress, not perfection.
- Start with aerobic activities, which have the most substantial health benefits. Use large muscle groups for enough time to raise your heart rate and break a sweat. Later on, you can add balance, flexibility, or strength training for even more benefits.
- Start slowly and build up slowly. If you’ve been inactive for some time, you might just take a ten-minute walk every couple of days. But schedule a time and make it a part of your routine. Later, you can increase the duration of the exercise, and then the intensity. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate activity each week. (Just 30 minutes, five days a week!)
- Sit less. Too much time sitting can increase your risk for chronic disease, even if you get the recommended 150 minutes a week. Aim for less than two hours of screen time a day, not including work and school, and try to sit for less than six hours total. If you have to sit a lot, stand up and move around for two or three minutes every half hour.
- Do what works for YOU. You’re more likely to keep a habit that reflects who you are and what you enjoy. Exercising with a friend or family member can help you stay on a schedule and can make workouts more fun. But listening to music or audiobooks can give you time for solitude and reflection. Find what works for you.