Get Moving in 2013!

If you regularly visit a gym or fitness center, you may notice that there’s more of a crowd at these facilities beginning the first part of January. As the weeks and months go by, however, the crowds start to thin out as many of us tend to let our New Year’s resolutions fall by the wayside. You may not have time for the gym, but that doesn’t mean you have to let your busy schedules, family and social engagements and work commitments keep you from getting your daily dose of physical activity!

However you spend your days – sitting at a desk, running heavy equipment, chasing after children – physical activity can be a part of your daily routine. You can add physical activity to your days with just a few tweaks and small additions to your schedule.

  • Stretch when you get out of bed. Stretching is a great way to get your blood flowing first thing in the morning! Stretching also has many healthful benefits: pain relief, increased energy and flexibility, improved posture, enhanced muscular coordination and stress relief.
  • Walk your dog, and instead of slowing the pup down, pick up your pace to match his.
  • Take more steps each day. Use the stairs instead of taking the elevator or walk down the hall to a coworker’s office rather than sending an email. Park farther from the store or your workplace. Wear a pedometer to keep track of how many steps you take; small changes in your habits can have you walking a mile or more each day!
  • Use your work breaks to take a brisk walk or stretch.
  • Get your friends and family involved! Go hiking with a friend, take dancing lessons with your spouse or play outside with your kids; your loved ones and your body will appreciate the time you give them!
  • Pull out your vaccum, mop and dust rags and clean house.
  • Spend time working in your yard or garden or finally tackle that garage/basement/attic cleaning project.

Walking is mentioned in several of the above ideas. That’s because it is an easy way for your body to reap MAJOR benefits! By walking just 30-45 minutes on most days and eating 100 calories less each day (no mayo on your sandwich, one less slice of cheese, diet or regular soda) you can lose 1o pounds in a year! You can even break the 30-45 minutes up into smaller, more managable increments, like 10-15 minutes.

Montana is well-known for its outdoor opportunities, but sometimes it’s hard to think of what there is to do, especially in winter. The following links will give you some ideas!

When it comes to adding physical activity to your daily activities, the possibilities are endless. The most important thing to keep in mind is to pick physical activity that you can stick with! Many well-intentioned exercise plans fall through because they are just not feasible for the individual’s schedule or energy level. Some people choose an activity that will help them make some quick health changes, but then burn out and give up, negating any progress they’ve made. Start slow and build up your level of activity. Finally, figure out what benefits of physical activity you value – a healthy lifestyle, fitting into the “skinny” jeans, better sleep, recreational time – and focus on those.