Guest Blogger Post!
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about one-third of American adults are obese. Unfortunately, children and adolescents are also struggling to fight the bulge: approximately 17 percent of them are also obese. And as most of us know, with obesity comes a host of health problems in addition to a shorter life span. So what can be done to prevent this condition? Well, in addition to eating right, you need to be proactive and make exercise and fitness a priority.
Why Aren’t You Exercising?
If you’re anything like the old me, you may have started this summer thinking that this would be the perfect time to finally start your exercise routine, but now that the weeks and months have gone by, you find yourself at the tail end of summer with an unimplemented workout plan. Here are just a few issues that keep most of us from jump-starting our plan:
- You Have a Desk Job: If you work in an office, this is part of the problem. Office jobs promote a sedentary lifestyle, where it is customary for workers to sit for hours at a time. At this point, who hasn’t worked 12- or 14-hour days at a computer, with breaks happening only for meetings and lunch? And if you are a government employee or work in the financial sector, the statistics are even worse: a recent study shows that those who work in these industries experienced the most weight gain of all national employees, with 52 percent and 53 percent of people gaining weight since working at the job, respectively.
- There’s No Time: Whether you work a corporate job or are a stay-at-home mom, daily responsibilities can make starting an exercise routine seem impossible. If you are constantly on a deadline, in meetings, or simply have infants and young children at home, exercising can find itself low on the list of priorities.
- Bad Food Choices Zap Your Fitness Morale: If today’s stress-ridden schedules don’t have you skipping meals all together, it is likely that you’ve given in to the temptation of fast food. That super-sized cheeseburger with a side of fries and a milkshake, for good measure, tasted good on the way down, but now you feel guilty. Since you’ve already obliterated whatever fitness aspirations you had for the day, you figure that it is best to start your exercise plan tomorrow. Better to start with a clean slate, right?
- Constant Distractions: Is your TV always on? Do you use your wireless Internet connection to keep your computer around you at all times? It’s so easy to get distracted these days – I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s logged onto YouTube only to discover that two hours have flown by without warning.
Perhaps the above aren’t your exact reasons for skipping out on fitness, but I’m willing to bet they’re pretty close. In today’s world, it simply isn’t easy to find time for fitness. Still, for the sake of your health and overall well-being, you are going to have to put exercise first. Here’s how.
Budget Your Day
Believe it or not, finding time for exercise isn’t impossible. Being creative with your daily schedule, staying prepared, and having a can-do attitude can make it happen. Here are some suggestions for slipping in that much-needed fitness time:
- Mornings: Exercise is a great way to start any day. If you commit to going to sleep a bit earlier each night, you can start waking up an hour earlier than you normally do. Then, use the mornings to try speed walking in your neighborhood (or to work). If you belong to a gym, make good on your membership by taking a spinning or aerobics class. By exercising first thing in the morning, you are able to minimize the risk of your work day or home life getting in the way of your fitness plans.
- Afternoons: I know, I know, at first glance, the afternoon doesn’t seem like a realistic time to exercise for anyone who holds down a 9 to 5, but hold your horses! If you do indeed take a lunch break each day – and you should – finding a local fitness club in your work area may just be the solution that you need. Many gyms hold afternoon yoga, spinning or aerobics classes that are tailored to a worker’s schedule. They usually last about 45 minutes, giving participants 15 minutes to freshen up before they return to the work environment. These midday classes will not only jump start your metabolism after you’ve been sitting all those hours, but they’ll also provide a refreshing escape from the workday doldrums. A lunch break can also be a good time to simply walk around the block.
- Evenings: Going straight to the gym after work is also a good way to ensure that your fitness goals are met. All you have to do is make sure to prepare your gym bag the night before or first thing in the morning and then put the bag in your car. If you aren’t a member of a gym and don’t plan to be, use your computer to bring the gym in to your living room by taking online exercise classes or even downloading programs from fitness websites.
Simply being mindful of your schedule can make the difference between maintaining your fitness goals and going astray. A little creativity and commitment can move your exercise routine from the bottom of your list to the top.
What to Do on Busier Days
There’s no rule that says every workout has to be two hours long. The key here is to keep your body moving – even if you know that today’s responsibilities won’t allow for a full workout, rather than scrapping your entire commitment, you can modify your workout to 20 minutes or so. Shorten that walk or jog on the treadmill and you will still feel energized and on-task because you made time for your workout. You can also spice things up by lifting weights on these shorter workout days and ending with some muscle-lengthening stretches. You can also check out our evbe | EverydayBetter 10 minute workout video plans!
If you are serious about exercise, there is always a way to get it in. If for some reason you find yourself missing a day of exercise, don’t throw in the towel. Just jump right back in the next day and you will be able to keep yourself both fit and focused. If you are a mother and you find that your schedule is pretty sticky, simply finding a gym that has babysitting facilities will allow you to get the job done.
Finally, fitness is everywhere! If you take public transportation to work, get off at an earlier stop and walk the rest of the way. This also can work if you drive: by parking a couple of blocks away, you can still get in a good walk before you get in to the office. Or kick the elevator to the curb and take the stairs. With a little thought and preparation, you can shed the pounds and avoid becoming overweight.
James Wilson is a fitness enthusiast and internet marketer who operates several fitness related websites. When he’s not at the gym, you can find him typing away at the computer.