When you think of the word “exercise,” what comes to mind? Does it come with a sense of obligation and a limited view of what qualifies as exercise? If you aren’t hitting the treadmill or pumping weights a certain number of times per week, do you feel like an exercise failure? When working out isn’t something you look forward to doing, the odds of your keeping up with it are greatly reduced. It is important to be creative and think outside the box.

There are many different activities that you can consider as “exercise.” The important thing is to find out what you enjoy and to make it a part of your daily living. Here’s a few ideas to getting more movement in your day.

Change your framework. We often experience some kind of guilt that comes with the “should” of exercising. Leave behind the “should” and find your “want.” Think of “exercise” as movement that brings you joy. Traditional types of exercise like hiking, biking, running, swimming, kayaking, dancing, skiing and tennis can be incorporated into your daily life if you focus more on the fun and less on the result. If it gets you moving, it counts as exercise. It will lower your stress and put a smile on your face.

Talk and walk. Instead of meeting your friends for coffee or lunch, meet them for a walk. You save money and you get some exercise. You spend so much time jabbering that you forget your legs are doing a lot of walking.

Do it with someone. It is easier to cancel out on yourself than on someone else. Having support from others can get you through on the challenging days. Sign up for a yoga class or join a hiking group. It doesn’t matter what it is, just do it with someone.

Crunch at work. We spend so much of our time at work that it is beneficial to find ways to move while on the job. Try to deliver documents in person rather than using interoffice mail or walk to a different floor to use the restroom.

Keep moving. Try moving throughout the day rather than thinking of “exercise” as something you only do at a certain time of the day. For example, take the stairs instead of the elevator, park in a far spot at the grocery store, or do your own gardening. At home, try walking around when you are on the phone or stretching while watching television. Even cleaning your house counts as movement.

Whatever way you look at it, exercise is good for your health! It enhances your mood, improves your energy, helps you sleep better, boosts your immune system, lowers your blood pressure, increases your metabolism, helps you maintain a healthy weight, and so much more. How can you start moving today?


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