Many of us live our lives like caged animals. Built to move, we too often cage ourselves. We have bodies designed to run across savannahs, but we live a lifestyle designed to migrate from the bed to the breakfast table; to the car seat; to the office chair; to the restaurant booth; to the living room couch and back to bed.
It wasn’t always that way. Not long ago, in the United States, a man who worked on a farm jogged the equivalent of 15 miles each day; and his wife jogged the equivalent of 7 miles.
Today, our daily obligations at work and at home keep us tied to our chairs, and if we want to exercise, we have to seek it out.
In fact, health experts insist that the problem of obesity is probably caused at least as much by lack of physical activity as by overeating. Therefore, it is important that people need to move.
However, that doesn’t mean that a lap or two around the old high school track will make up for a daily dose of donuts. Exercise alone isn’t very effective, experts say. They say that if you simply exercise and don’t change your diet, you may be able to keep the weight off or even lose a few pounds for a while.
Nevertheless, this is not something you are likely to maintain unless exercise is part of an overall program. The more regularly you exercise, the easier it is to maintain your weight. Here’s what to do every day to make sure you get the exercise you need.
- Get quality Zzz’s.
Make sure you get enough sleep. Good sleep habits are conducive to exercise, experts point out. If you feel exhausted during the day, you’re less likely to do much physical activity during the day.
Also, there is evidence that tired people tend to eat more, using food as a substance for the rest they need.
- Walk the walk.
This is probably the simplest exercise program of all. In fact, it may be all you have to do, according to some professional advice from some health experts.
Gradually build up to at least 30 minutes of brisk walking five times a week. Brisk walks themselves have health and psychological benefits that make them worthwhile.
- Walk on the treadmill.
When the weather is bad, you may not feel like going outside. But if you have a treadmill in the TV room, you can catch up on your favorite shows while you take your good daily lap for your weight maintenance plan.
Most of us watch TV anyway, and indoor exercise equipment allows anyone to turn a sedentary activity into a healthy walk.
- Seize the time.
Excuses aside, lack of time is certainly a limiting factor in most lifestyles. That’s why health experts suggest a basic guideline for incorporating exercise into your schedule.
Get as much exercise as you can without it interfering with your work or family life. If you need to, remember that you avoid many health problems when you avoid gaining weight; and keeping your health is a gift to your family as well as to yourself.