Research shows you can improve your memory and greatly reduce your risk of dementia — not to mention diabetes, heart disease and most other chronic diseases — by engaging in moderate physical activity for at least 150 minutes every week. That’s 30 minutes a day, five days a week. But eighty percent of adults aren’t getting enough exercise, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
People have many excuses for not exercising: They can’t find the time. They’re too tired. They’re busy with the kids. They’re not the athletic type.
But here’s one of the biggest reasons for people not exercising — they just don’t want to.
Exercise is drudgery. It’s boring. They hate it. If you’re one of those people, it’s time to redefine your notion of exercise — rather, just find a way to stop being sedentary.
Anything that gets your heart in the range of 110 to 140 beats a minute qualifies as moderate exercise. You can achieve it by vacuuming the floor, not to mention a whole lot of ways that are far more appealing — even an activity as basic as walking.
So for the sake of better health, here are suggestions to get your body moving in a way that won’t even seem like exercise.
Walk the dog. Whatever you lack in enthusiasm for exercise, a dog will more than make up for. Reach for the leash and your pooch will come pouncing with joy. Dogs won’t think of it as exercise, so why should you?
Go to the mall. Spending a couple of hours at the mall can easily amount to 2,000 to 3,000 steps — roughly a mile and a quarter. Park well away from the entrance, and you’ll get even more steps in. The greatest bargain is the exercise you get.
Ride a horse. Ever see a cowboy who didn’t look fit and rugged? Being on a horse at full gallop requires about the same amount of physical effort as field hockey or rock-climbing.
Dance! It not only tones muscles, it improves balance and coordination, something that becomes particularly important as we get older. A 30-minute dance class can burn anywhere from 130 to 250 calories, which is about the equivalent of jogging for the same amount of time.
Set sail. As calming and pleasant as sailing can be, it isn’t idle activity — it involves serious physical exertion. Pulling ropes or raising the sails also can sharpen hand-eye coordination and motor skills.
Coach youth sports. You’re right to encourage your kids to play sports. But why sit in the stands and watch? You’d be surprised how much exercise you can get coaching a sport that someone else plays. Tou’ll be constantly on the move, burning calories and improving your fitness.
Tend a garden. Planting a garden can sow the seeds of good health. And of you plant vegetables in your garden, that fresh produce will improve your diet, which keeps you even healthier!