If you’re one of the 1 in 5 adults getting the recommended amount of exercise, hooray! If you’re the other 4 in 5, don’t worry—it’s easy to meet the minimum guidelines!
You need to average about 20 minutes of aerobic activity a day, or about 2.5 hours a week, as well as do muscle strengthening activities at least two days per week.
That’s not a lot of time, so you can do it! If you do need it to sound less daunting, consider this:
-If you do really intense aerobic activity, the recommendation is only 1 hour 15 minutes. That’s half the time—so if you’re extra busy, just double your intensity and half the time.
-If it’s the effort that’s discouraging you—note that the baseline is just getting your heart rate up. No matter your fitness level, just getting your heart rate accelerated for 20 minutes a day should be easy.
Here are some ideas to get started:
-Pick a sitcom on Netflix/Hulu/Whatever. Watch one episode every day, and make that when you work out. Do jumping jacks, jog in place, or take your smartphone to the gym and watch using their wifi while you use a stair stepper. (I know some people can read while on the treadmill, I can’t—the bobbing motion combined with trying to read gives me eye strain).
-Make a playlist. Pick songs that get your heart rate up—summer anthems, dance beats, or the top 3 songs from your high school years. Make them the backdrop for a super intense workout.
-Start each morning with stretches. Whether it’s yoga or just shaking the sleep off, making a habit of using your body will help motivate you to exercise more.
-Treat yourself! Going to the gym (or rec center) also means access to a hot tub, sauna/steam room, and showers with endlessly hot water. Relax your muscles.
-And again, treat yourself! Most people notice they naturally start eating better when they work out. Once a week or so, let yourself have a smoothie or chocolate protein shake.
-Don’t forget to support yourself!
What gets you going?