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12 Ways To Increase Physical Activity Even If You Don't Have Time

Working adults face many challenges to being physically active and exercising regularly. Being tired after a long day of work, caregiving for children or aging parents, or rushing off to second jobs are all obstacles to getting the proper amount of exercise which is 150 to 300 minutes per week of moderate intensity aerobic exercise or 75 to 150 minutes per week of vigorous intensity aerobic exercise. It is also recommended to perform muscle-strengthening activities that involve all major muscle groups on two or more days per week.

Even if a person cannot find the time for uninterrupted physical activity, it has been proven that short bouts (as little as 5 minutes), multiple times a day, can have a marked health benefit.

Here are 12 ways to increase physical activity at the office or at home:

At the office:

  1. Try short, in-office exercises like lunges, chair squats, desk push-ups, or arm stretches

  2. Use time on the phone to stand, stretch, or walk around the office

  3. Challenge yourself to stand and walk for 1-2 minutes, every 30 minutes during the day. Set a time to remind you

  4. When walking to a meeting, the restroom, or to your car, take the long way

  5. Replace your office chair with a yoga ball. A few times a day, perform 5-10 crunches using the ball

  6. Turn meetings into walking meetings. The increased blood flow to the brain may improve creative thinking

At home:

  1. For every 30 minutes of screen time, take a break and walk briskly around the house, do a couple of sets of squats or push ups, or hold a plank for 30-60 seconds

  2. Move while your sit! Use a small elliptical or stepper and step/pedal while watching favorite shows or surfing the web

  3. Make a mini-workout out of your chores. For example, hold wall-sits for 30-60 seconds while doing laundry, or do a couple of sets of squats while making dinner

  4. Use a wearable fitness tracking device to encourage more active time, and to set activity reminders

  5. Get other household members involved. Challenges or competitions can make activity more motivating

  6. If you have a dog, increase your walking time together, and walk at a brisk pace

Even though adults are busy and often have many time commitments, it is possible to have effective and time-efficient strategies to increase physical activity and achieve important health benefits.

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