Exercise doesn’t have to be intense, difficult, or long to be effective. What’s important is consistency.
It can be easier to get moving once you reframe your mindset and set up a routine that works for you.
- Focus on getting more active in your day-to-day: Get more steps in during your commute, take walking breaks during the day with a friend or coworker. If you work from home, a walking treadmill under the desk is a creative option.
- Find an activity that you enjoy: Rather than forcing yourself to run on the treadmill, join a fun class. Bonus points for good music.
- Schedule in exercise, just like you’d schedule in a meeting or doctor’s appointment: Exercise is just as important for your health as a physical check-up.
- Make exercise more appealing: Watch your favorite show while on the elliptical, get workout clothing that you feel good in, go to a class with a friend. Working out shouldn’t feel like punishment.
- Reflect on how good you feel after you exercise: 💦😄✌😎🙌 That’s how you keep on going until it becomes a habit.
Your starting point
Everyone has a different starting point. You may be going to the gym 3 days/week, 7 days/week, or not at all but still paying for your gym membership (guilty! 🙋). The CDC recommends 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise a week (which breaks down into 30 minutes for 5 days a week), plus strength training twice a week.
Sound like a lot? Start with 10 minutes each day this week. Build up to 20 minutes next week, then 30 minutes the week after.
What counts as moderate aerobics? Typically, it includes a brisk walk, riding a bike, and dancing. You should be able to talk while you exercise (unless you are swimming), but if you can sing or whistle, you need to kick up the intensity. If you cannot complete a sentence without gasping for breath, you need to slow down.
A note on weight lifting vs. cardio: weight lifting helps to build muscle and strength and increase your metabolism, but it is not a substitute for aerobic exercise. The foundation of staying healthy and weight loss/weight maintenance is consistent aerobic exercise every day.
Are you already getting in the recommended amount of exercise on average? If yes, then amazing— you’re a rock star! If you’re not quite there yet, we recommend incorporating more exercise to help reach your health goals.
Don’t worry, we’ll help you figure out how!
Is there such a thing as too much exercise?
If exercising everyday for 1-2 hours serves you (you enjoy it, it’s your time to destress, you’re working on fitness goals), then go for it!
However, long, intense physical activity can actually backfire if you don’t enjoy it (plus it can increase your hunger). Too much, too fast can lead to injury. If that happens, you may not be able to exercise for a while, so be careful to increase exercise intensity slowly.
Avoid the all-or-nothing mentality
If 5 minutes is all you have time for today, then that’s a small win! We all get caught up in our own heads sometimes— “if I don’t break a sweat and spend at least an hour on the treadmill, then I might as well not do it at all!”
Setting goals that are too high can be discouraging. So, let’s set realistic goals— something you are confident that you can achieve today— and give yourself a pat on the back 🙌 for accomplishing it!
Trust us (we’re a team of weight loss professionals!), 5 minutes is better than 0 minutes of exercise.
Try adding these exercises to your fitness routine
Now that we’ve loaded up on exercise knowledge, let’s turn your intentions into a plan! Here are a few of our favorite ways to get moving:
- Walking: one of the easiest and most underrated ways to exercise with huge health benefits!
- Cycling or spin classes: it burns so good!
- Weight training: hitting my strength goals is what drives me
- Yoga: Shavasana is my ultimate de-stresser
- Barre and pilates: gentle but still intense
- Dance and zumba: music gets me moving!
- HIIT or kickboxing: I love my cardio with a bit of oomph (I have a killer roundhouse)
- Sports: it doesn’t feel like exercise when I’m in the zone
What kind of exercise do you want to incorporate into your routine? How many times a week are you planning to do that? Your answers to these questions help you to define your goals, set your intentions, and keep you on track.
Is there something magical about 10,000 steps?
10,000 steps is about 5 miles or 90 minutes of walking (which is why we love the sneaker trend!). For many people, that’s more steps than they usually take per day.
There’s no magic to it, but there is logic. By increasing your daily step count, you are moving more and burning more energy.
While 10,000 is a nice round number, we understand that can be a daunting goal to set. We recommend starting with 5,000 steps and working your way up. Don’t forget your pedometer or your phone for tracking!
Setting achievable fitness goals
You’ve learned about the importance of exercise and setting an achievable goal. Whether you’re already getting regular exercise or you are just starting to get comfortable with moving, your Care Team is always here to hand out virtual high-fives and give you a boost when you need it.
Want to hold yourself more accountable? Tweet your fitness goals and exercise progress and tag us (@joinsequence) and Dr. Nadolsky (@drnadolsky), and we’ll reshare your post!
It’s time for a break!
Get up, stretch your legs, and go for a 5 minute walk around the house, down the block, or around the office to refill your water bottle. Fun fact: if you do that once an hour, over the course of the day, you’ve actually accomplished 30 minutes of exercise. Like we said…easy!