How to beat the couch potato curse
Friday, July 4th, 2014
Issue 27, Volume 18.
A heightened awareness of what makes for a healthy and unhealthy diet coupled with the increased availability of healthy foods has helped many people smoothly transition to a healthier diet. But many people still struggle to find time to exercise every day.
Commitments to work and family can make it difficult to squeeze in regular workouts, and the call of the couch is often more appealing than a trip to the gym at the end of a long day juggling both personal and professional obligations.
But exercise is integral to a healthy lifestyle, so it’s important that men and women take steps to incorporate exercise into their daily routines.
Figure out when you’re free. Finding free time is perhaps the biggest hurdle adults must clear when attempting to exercise more. Track your daily schedule for a week or two, making note of down times during the day when you might be able to squeeze in 30 to 60 minutes of exercise.
If you notice you’re spending your lunch hours catching up on personal emails or surfing the Internet, then consider joining a gym near your office and turning those lunch hours into workouts.
If your mornings are not dominated by getting the kids ready for school, then wake up a half hour earlier each morning to squeeze in some time on the treadmill. You likely have some down time with regard to your daily schedule, and identifying such time is the first step toward making better use of it.
Make it a team effort. Daily exercise is not just good for adults; it’s great for kids, too.
Parents looking to fit more physical activity into their daily routines should consider involving their children, many of whom are dealing with a fitness crisis of their own.
According to a 2014 report in the Journal of the American Medical Association, childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled inadolescents over the last three decades, putting youngsters at increased risk for cardiovascular disease, prediabetes, bone and joint problems, and sleep apnea.
Parents can make daily exercise a family affair, which increases the time they spend with their children while ensuring their kids stay fit as well. Men and women without families also can make daily exercise a team effort by working out with a friend or significant other. The buddy system often proves motivational, encouraging men and women to exercise even on those days when the couch is calling.
Make exercise more interesting. Many workout routines fall by the wayside because they simply do not engage men and women no matter how motivated they are to lose weight.
An hour on the treadmill can seem like an eternity to certain men and women, who can benefit by choosing workout routines that are less monotonous.
For example, Zumba is a combination of dance and aerobic exercise that is growing in popularity. In lieu of spending an hour on the treadmill or elliptical machine, Zumba participants get an equally if not exceedingly challenging cardiovascular workout that many find more fun than traditional aerobic exercise thanks to its incorporation of dance.
For those without such happy feet, bring a tablet along to the gym and catch up on your favorite television shows or a good book during your cardiovascular routines. The more interesting you find your workout routine, the more likely you are to find time for that routine every day.
Be sure to choose an accessible routine. When planning your workout, make it as accessible as possible. While sports like kayaking and mountain bike racing make for great exercise, such activities are not readily accessible to many working professionals with busy schedules.
Join a gym that’s only a short drive from home, or purchase some gym equipment you can set up in your own home. The more accessible a workout routine is, the more likely you are to embrace that routine.
The call of the couch can be difficult to ignore. But the side effects of a sedentary lifestyle can be grave, so men and women should work to find ways to include exercise in their daily routines.
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