Want to fight Alzheimer’s, depression, heart disease, and diabetes? Bump up your aerobic activity that you get each day. I know it’s a struggle. Trying to fit in a trip to the gym, you need new shoes, you don’t have the cash for that spin class after all that Christmas spending…the list goes on and on. Skip all the special place, spending money, and all the other barriers to exercising your heart and try these free and easy tips!
- The Physical Commute. This is the ‘free’ exercise that once in your regular routine, you’ll do it every weekday, no matter what. Not only will this be a free and easy way to exercise, but it will save you money to boot! The idea is simple, if you live within 3 miles of work, walk there. Load up your lunch, work things, and perhaps dress shoes into a backpack and walk to work. That walk to and from work will boost your mood in the office as well as at home. If you live within 5 miles of work, it’s time to dust off the old bike. A five-mile bike ride to work will make you feel like a kid again. This might require you to pack your work pants in the backpack.
- If you commute a longer distance than 5 miles, the physical commute might not work for you. Counteract all those car/bus/train rides with a regular 3 mile walk in nature. This requires no fancy equipment or new shoes. Just wear something comfortable that you already have, dress for the weather and step out your front door. Most smartphones will download a free app that will help you measure your route. If you don’t have something like this, just walk at a moderately brisk pace for about an hour, beginning and ending with your front door. Walk through the woods, a field, a park; try to strive for a natural setting near you. Picking a spot where you can walk to is key. The more time you spend driving there, the less time you will have in your day, and the more likely you are to drop this habit. This will easily be the best hour you spend, even at the end of a long day.
- The Buddy System. The buddy system is a great way to find motivation to commit to a regular walk. Socializing is something humans crave, so mix it with your exercise. Get to know a neighbor. Don’t fall into the oh-so-common buddy system trap though. You know what I mean. The time together is great, but it’s raining. You two decide to have coffee instead of walk. Pretty soon you have a regular coffee date with your neighbor, or lunch, or drinks….and you never walk anymore. This is the ugly side of the buddy system. The solution? Keep your friend, but perhaps look to that fur ball in the corner for a walking buddy. Dogs love to walk, it’s great exercise. If you make a commitment to a pet, this is what they WILL want to do. Don’t have a dog? This might be the time to visit the shelter and get one, or offer to walk an elderly neighbor’s dog for them. It’s a win-win.
I hope that one of these three simple ideas will work for you. We live in a sedentary society. After 40+ hours of sitting, get moving to keep your body and your brain healthy!