Exercise for People Who Don't Have Time to Exercise
As Physical Therapists we understand the value and benefit of regular exercise on an individual’s overall well-being. The number one concern posed by many patients is the lack of time to dedicate to daily exercise. Finding health benefits from exercise does not require long, drawn out sessions in a fitness center. View your day in terms of activity and determine ways to simply use your regular daily tasks to increase exercise/activity level. The important thing to remember is that any activity is better than no activity. Significant health benefits can be obtained with just a few minutes of light exercise performed daily.
Many lifestyles do not lend much time to perform a regimented, high-intensity exercise program. Instead, utilize periods of your day where you may be idle to quickly perform simple activities to help increase your fitness level. For example, if you find yourself sitting and watching TV in the evenings, use commercials as the perfect opportunity for exercise. Begin by simply performing repeated sit to stands simulating a squat, marching in place, jumping jacks, push-ups, crunches, stair climbing or just walking around your home as a means for increasing your activity level. Performing these tasks for the duration of the commercial can provide enough intensity to increase heart rate and respiration and activate many muscle groups throughout your body.
Light resistance training can also be performed easily at home even if you do not own weight training equipment. Resistance bands do not require storage space and will provide enough resistance to increase strength/endurance and improve muscular efficiency. Household objects, such as soup cans, can also substitute for hand weights. Resistance training can be performed for both the upper and lower extremities. Include shoulder raises/presses, bicep curls, and tricep kickbacks. Strengthening of the legs can be achieved through squatting, step-ups, and leg/calf raises. These exercises can be performed quickly, easily and without the need for expensive or bulky equipment.
Try to incorporate more walking during your day. Take short breaks from sitting tasks to walk around your home or office. You can also park farther from your destinations so that you can be more active to and from your car. Choose to walk/cycle instead of driving to nearby destinations or simply take a walk around the block.
In general, exercise in the form of either aerobic or resistance training can provide substantial health benefits including:
- Cardiovascular/respiratory fitness
- Muscular endurance/strength
- Regulation of body processes including metabolism and hormone balance
- Improved sleep cycles
- Increased energy
- Improved affect
Despite limited extra time during the day to perform regimented exercise; many opportunities are available to begin living healthier lives. Don’t let time be an obstacle in the way of your health. MAKE the time and let the results speak for themselves.
Stephen DiGiambattista PT, DPT is a Physical Therapist with North Pocono ProCare Physical Therapy. If there are questions, concerns or have suggestions for future columns, please contact Dr. DiGiambattista firstname.lastname@example.org.