Take the “Work” Out of Your Workout

Lexington Herald-LeaderAugust 10, 2011 

Physical fitness is a critical factor in maintaining good health; however, you don’t have to run a marathon or spend hours at the gym to keep fit.  The best way to get fit, and stay that way, is to incorporate fitness into your everyday life. Taking your dog for a walk, riding a bike, or playing with your children can all lead to a more active life and a healthier you.

 

“Activities that you can do which increase your heart rate and keep your body moving will help to improve your overall physical and mental health,” says Cheryl McClain, MD, Lexington Clinic family medicine physician. “Being physically active can help with heart problems, arthritis, diabetes, obesity and many other health conditions.”

 

One way to become healthier is to embrace the warm weather and move your exercise plans outside as an alternative to the classic gym workout. When walking on a treadmill, the scenery does not change and you tend to focus on how far you have gone and how long you have been walking. Instead, go outside and make it a fun event. Bring your friends, children or pets along to keep you company. While this may not prepare you for a marathon, your heart is pumping and your blood is moving. If walking is fun, you will walk farther and get more exercise.

 

Other options to boost your heart rate include biking or rollerblading. These activities can place less strain on the knees and back while still giving you an excellent workout. Whether you go on a leisurely ride or a marathon race, every little bit counts. Consider your age, health and abilities when planning a bike ride or a rollerblading trip. This can be dangerous if you take on more than your body is ready for.

 

In addition to a routine walk or ride, you can also get physically fit through games and activities. Playing with children and pets is a great way to stay active. This can also double as a time to build relationships and get your family into a healthy routine. Traditional games like tag, soccer, kickball or fetch will help everyone become more active without thinking about calories or step counts. 

 

Since you cannot always be outside, there are some ways to keep active at work as well. If you are at a desk all day, it is important to get up and move around. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator or walking to your co-workers desk instead of sending them an email will keep you from sitting down for too long. It is recommended that you get up at least every 30 to 45 minutes to stretch and get your blood flowing.

 
There are lots of ways to stay active in your everyday life. Evaluate what you do on a daily basis and what you can do to be more active. Always be sure to consult your physician before starting a new exercise routine. Once you begin, having a buddy system will help you stay on track and push yourself to do better, so be sure to involve family and friends. In a short amount of time, you will be feeling like a new, health

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