Have you been putting off exercise since your unfulfilled New Year’s Resolution to “shape up” or “get healthy”? Are the cloudy mornings in the SF Bay keeping you in bed until the last possible minute?
In a few of our post-new year’s blogposts, we talked about what it takes to make a good resolution — SMART goals — and how to stay on track throughout the year. Now it’s time to check in and talk about fitness. And I don’t mean hardcore fitness — we’re not talking Crossfit or Insanity workouts or marathon running (all of which have their pros and cons that we won’t get into today). I’m talking about getting up and doing something as simple as walking for a few minutes a few times a day.
Recent research has shown that people of all ages garner the same health benefits from walking as they do running. Risk for hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, and heart disease is lowered just about equally, no matter which activity you choose. While it might take a little bit longer to accomplish the same positive results with walking, people tend to keep a walking routine longer-term than they do a running routine. And as our population ages, the lower impact activity will surely be the one of choice.
Sustainable is the word of the day! Do what you can and are willing to do every day, and find a friend to do it with!
The best part about walking (or running, or jumping in place, or anything that elevates your heart rate without going to a gym) is its versatility. You don’t have to do it all at once to get the benefit. As I stated in an earlier post this month, multiple bursts throughout the day may be even better for you than spending a couple of hours at the gym each night.
And one more interesting fact: according to RealAge.com doctor, Dr. Vonda Wright, starting your day with a brisk walk at 7am helps you spend 75% more time in deep sleep each night than workouts later in the day. If you’re a morning person, take advantage of this great tip!
Next week, I challenge you to pick 4 stopping points in your work day EVERY DAY (and they can even be extended bathroom breaks). Get up and take a lap around your building or office, walk up a few flights of stairs, or do 15 to 20 body-weight squats in front of your desk (you can even read an email while doing that one, I do it every day). Challenge yourself to do that EVERY DAY, 5 days in a row, next week at work, and let me know how you feel on Friday.
I’m looking forward to hearing the feedback.