Research has shown sedentary behaviour, or sitting too much, is harmful to our health, including our heart health. Negative changes start to happen in our arteries with prolonged sitting. It prevents the proper breakdown of fats and sugar in our blood, which over time can lead to heart disease. Regular movement throughout the day, even leisurely movement, can help to lower our risk. It is recommended to move at least two minutes every 30 minutes or so.
Aerobic exercise is a key part of a healthy lifestyle. However, making active living a part of your life is also important. You can do lifestyle activities at any time and they do not require special equipment or specific skills. Here are ways to achieve this.
- Look for ways to burn extra calories through lifestyle activities. It’s not difficult to do. Opportunities are all around you:
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator so long as this does not give you angina
- Park farther away from the store and walk the extra distance
- Cut the grass
- Work in the garden
- Walk the dog instead of watching TV
- Play ball with your children or grandchildren
- Walk to lunch instead of riding in a car
- Play golf walking the course, instead of using a cart
- Take up a new, active hobby, such as ballroom dancing or lawn bowling
A good way to keep track of how active you are in a day is to use a pedometer. It is a small device you wear on your belt. It tells you how many steps you are taking in a day. Reaching 10,000 steps in a day is considered an active lifestyle. There are also many other activity trackers on the market which can help you gauge your daily activity. Many of them will download the information to your computer or your smartphone.
- Make exercise a regular part of your daily routine. Here are some ways to help you do this:
- Monitor your schedule for a week or two and find time slots for your exercise. If finding 30 minutes is too difficult, try to find three slots of 10 minutes.
- If possible, exercise first thing in the morning before other obligations get in the way.
- Lay out your exercise clothes the night before for an early morning exercise session.
- Carry your workout bag, especially your athletic shoes, with you in the car at all times.
- Put on your exercise clothes and do not take them off until you have exercised.
- Place home exercise equipment in a pleasant location in your home.
- Turn your commute into a workout. If possible, walk, cycle, run or rollerblade to work. If you take the bus, consider walking to a further stop before getting on or get off early and walk part of the way.
Part of adopting an active lifestyle is being able to adapt to changes in your routine and overcoming situations which may make it difficult to continue with your regular exercise session. Having a plan in place will help you maintain your routine.
Remember that some exercise is better than no exercise!
Ways to Overcome Barriers
Part of adopting an active lifestyle is being able to adapt to changes in your routine and overcoming situations which may make it difficult to continue with your regular exercise sessions.
Business Travel and Vacations
- Walk instead of taking taxis.
- Take a brisk walk before breakfast or at the end of the day.
- Explore a new city by walking, jogging or cycling to see the sights.
- Use the equipment in the hotel gym.
- Include active recreation—hiking, fishing, bird watching, horseback riding or canoeing.
- Walk in the airport while waiting for your flight.
- Fit in short bouts of brisk walking several times during the day.
- Discuss work issues with coworkers while walking.
- Stretch during your breaks to improve productivity and concentration.
- Let others know exercise is a priority for you and ask for their support.
- Combine social activities with exercise, such as dancing, ice skating, hiking, and cycling. Injuries and Sickness
- Look for a substitute activity—water aerobics, stationary cycling, chair aerobics.
- Do not break your routine. Continue to set aside time for exercise.
- Never exercise when you have a fever.
- Gradually build back up once you are well.
- Find opportunities for you and your family to exercise together.
- Go for a walk together and use the time to talk.
- Serve as an active role model for other family members.
- Get help from those around you.
- Ask someone to remind you to exercise.
- Make yourself accountable to someone else. Report your progress to them or better yet, plan to exercise together.
- Join an exercise group or class.