Let’s face it—many of us are too busy, too tired, or too unmotivated to squeeze in the 30 minutes of daily physical activity as suggested by personal trainers, doctors, and our good sense. However, there are plenty of ways that we can resist the urge to let our busy schedules dictate and compromise our health.
- Exercise with others: Join a yoga, aerobics, or spinning class at the gym. Encourage friends and family to exercise with you regularly. Habits take time to establish, so make a commitment to a routine for at least 30 days.
- Be accountable to someone: Tell someone that you’re going for a run/bike ride/workout at the gym that day and around what time. Most of us are, admittedly, more responsible when someone else is looking over our shoulders.
- Mix things up: if you’re the type of person numbed by repetition, try varying exercise activities. Alternate between jogging, cycling, swimming, yoga, pilates, strength training.
- Make it enjoyable and even competitive: if you don’t enjoy exercising for the sake of exercise (and there is no shame in this), try setting up tennis, basketball, soccer, or other sports games with friends and family.
- Make it easy, but be conscientious: As long as you make a conscious effort to put your muscles to good use every day, fitness can be easily and seamlessly incorporated into your life. Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator, walk or ride a bike to run errands close to home, park your car in a spot farther away from the building. Gyms and athletic clubs typically feature large, car-filled parking structures, which doesn’t make much sense if the purpose of going to the gym is for physical activity. If you live close enough, why not use a bike ride to the gym as a warm up?
Your efforts will be rewarded with better sleep, stress reduction, the satisfaction of fitting into your old dress/pair of jeans, and high energy levels day in and day out.
About the Author
Grace is an avid cyclist, vocal proponent of walkable/bikeable communities, a budding news junkie, and a native Angelino. A neurotic workaholic by nature, she has learned to expend her tremendous nervous energy through exercise and outdoor recreation. She has developed the strong belief that health and happiness come from quality time spent with family and friends, in self reflection, and in connection with nature (to paraphrase Bill McKibben).
In acting on this realization, she has explored numerous trails in the San Gabriel Mountains of Southern California with friends and family, has spent endless hours in the good company of alder trees and ants, and has ruminated under the stars in the high sierras. A recent graduate of University of Cambridge, UK, Grace has also rambled across dewy verdure hills, amongst sheep and grazing cattle, and often pondered the discrepancies between the European and American lifestyles. Through these experiences, she has come to love and appreciate, over and over again, the importance—for cultivation of our minds, bodies, and even, spirit—of exploring and respecting nature’s “outdoor laboratories.”