Make exercise a part of your daily routine

Prioritizing daily physical activity becomes more realistic with some simple planning techniques.

Two people walking down a road on a sunny day.
Photo: Pexels/Emre Kuzu.

Over the past few decades, the number of obese and overweight Americans has dramatically increased. Many people do not reach the amount of daily physical activity recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). This has contributed to the extremely high numbers of overweight and obese adults and children across the country, and Michigan has not been immune. 

According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Michigan ranks as a state with a higher-than-average obesity rate. See where your county rates in Michigan by using the County Health Rankings, and Roadmaps tool. The CDC notes that obesity or being overweight can lead to many poor health outcomes and long-term negative effects, including hypertension, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

This health issue does not have a simple solution. Any answer has to involve an array of factors. One important factor is making exercise a regular part of your routine. Thirty minutes of exercise each day with two days of resistance training a week is recommended for adults aged 18-64 (for more information on exercise recommendations, see Health.gov).

The benefits of increasing physical activity are plentiful. According to the CDC, those who exercise frequently can have an improved mood, lower body weight and body mass index (BMI), improved immunity and lower stress. If you find yourself having difficulty fitting in your daily physical activity, the following tips may help:

Five tips to fit in your workouts

  1. Plan for it: Put your workouts on your calendar or in your agenda daily.
  2. Make it a part of regular activities: Use the stairs at work or when shopping. Tighten your abs or squeeze your thigh muscles tight while you sit at your desk or while waiting in line. During commercial breaks of your favorite show or sporting event, try doing crunches (mix it up with squats, push-ups and planks).
  3. Make it more enjoyable: Join a recreational team or league. Work out with friends, family and co-workers, either safely outdoors or in a virtual environment like online yoga classes. This has the bonus of creating accountability partners within these groups.
  4. Make health and well-being a priority: Are there other activities that could be shortened to fit your physical activity? Physical activity does not have to come in hour-long doses. Being moderately active for even 10 minutes at a time can make a positive difference.
  5. Keep track: Use an activity tracker or online fitness app to help with goal setting and progress tracking. Seeing progress makes a huge difference in continually striving for results.

Physical activity does not have to be a chore. It can be an opportunity to improve your mood, improve your health outcomes and make your life healthier. Try some of these tips, and see how working in your workout can contribute to your health!

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