Our daily life has become so busy and hectic that our daily activities take away most of our waking time. And, at the end of the day, we feel as if we have no energy left to do something else. If someone asks us to include some kind of exercise in our daily life, most of us will probably think that the person has gone crazy. They think that the person doesn’t know how busy they are. As a matter of fact, one can incorporate a suitable schedule of exercise during the course of the day, in spite of a busy schedule, if one realizes how beneficial physical exercise is for the individual. Apart from myriads of benefits of regular exercise, some important ones are mentioned below:
• It lowers rates of all-cause mortality, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, colon and breast cancer, and depression.
• It reduces the risk of a hip or vertebral fracture.
• It increases level of cardio-respiratory and muscular fitness.
• It helps to achieve weight maintenance, have a healthier body mass and composition.
WHO recommendations for physical exercise – Below are mentioned levels of physical activity for adults aged 18 – 64 years as recommended by WHO (World Health Organization), which are universally accepted and followed:
- Minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week or at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity throughout the week or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity. Aerobic activity can be performed in bouts of at least 10 minutes duration.
- For additional health benefits, adults should increase their moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity to 300 minutes per week, or engage in 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity per week, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity.
- Muscle-strengthening activities should be done involving major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week. The above levels of physical activity are applicable for all adults irrespective of gender, race, ethnicity or income level. They can be modified for people, when specific medical conditions indicate so.
These recommendations can be valid for adults with disabilities. However, adjustments for each individual based on his or her exercise capacity and specific health risks or limitations are required.
Pregnant, postpartum women and persons with cardiac events may require taking extra precautions and seeking medical advice before starting to achieve the recommended levels of physical activity for this age group.
Incorporating physical exercise in daily routine – The following tips will help us incorporate an exercise schedule in a busy routine life:
- Develop a mindset – Most of us are well aware of the benefits regular exercise can offer us. We just have to develop a mindset to move more in a day and plan a regular schedule of exercise.
- Move more during the day – We can increase our daily physical activity by adopting simple tricks that will go a long way in improving our fitness. We can do so by picking things up that have fallen, parking vehicles far always from the store when going to shop, stand up or move around when talking on phone, taking stairs instead of using elevators and doing simple exercise movements while watching TV. These simple steps can do a lot to help us move more. If a meeting lasts longer than 90 minutes, take a break of 5 minutes at mid-point to stretch and move a little. If we begin our day with a commitment to do so, it will gradually become our habit. Then we will be doing this on an autopilot.
- Find a favorite exercise – Once we are able to develop a mindset for exercising, we should try to find out the kind of exercise we have inclination to. We will have to explore a bit to find what suits to our temperament. In fact, walking is the best exercise to begin with. And as you become habitual to doing it regularly, you can rope in other types, which you find suitable and interesting. You can do exercise alone, with a partner or in a group. You can experiment with each before you know, which interests you more because regularity of exercise will depend largely on interest it creates.
- Do it regularly – You will have to schedule an exercise plan like any other appointment in the day and treat it as a commitment. Once you do so, you will become habitual to it and will not avoid it at any cost, even in a busy schedule. Set realistic goals – One of the main reasons for the failure to incorporate exercise in the daily schedule is setting up of goals that are unrealistic. Obviously, you will not see results as you desired and, therefore, you will be discouraged to continue it. So, taking small steps with realistic goals is the best way to see lasting results.
- Have adequate rest – Rest is equally important as the training session itself. This will allow your muscles time to recuperate after exercise and prepare them for the next session. Training for 3 days straight with a day of rest in between will give encouraging results than training without any rest. So, develop a schedule that has adequate periods of rest. Thus, you will avoid over-training, which will also create hurdles in the progress.
- Learn more about exercise – As you have become habitual to the type of exercise you have selected to be suitable and useful, start learning more about the exercise of your choice as well as exercise in general. For this purpose, you can take assistance of some experts or log in to websites that offer authentic information.
- Develop patience – You are quite likely to find hurdles in moving towards your goal in the form of slowdowns and failures. The key to overcome this is to develop patience and perseverance. Even collecting authentic information about your physical activity will help you in overcoming such hurdles.
- Reward yourself – Rewards are powerful behavior reinforcers, so immediately reward yourself when you successfully complete a workout, reach a new fitness goal, or simply show up on a day, when you were tempted to ditch your exercise plans. It can be something as simple as a cup of your favorite coffee, or a visit to a film or theater.
The bottom line – The majority of us are well aware that regular exercise is beneficial to us in many ways. Still we have no dearth of excuses to avoid doing it. It takes much more to make exercise a habit. First of all, we have to create a proper mindset by removing any mental barriers. Once we have created a mindset, we will also have to develop a smart approach so that we stay motivated. After we have embarked on a suitable exercise plan, we should not allow the flame of our motivation die out, as we are quite likely to meet some discouragements in different forms. The key to the success of an exercise plan is to stay motivated despite discouragements. Once it has become well established in our daily routine, we will enjoy its myriads of benefits. And the habit will get so firmly rooted in our psyche that it will continue to persist throughout our life.