It’s a fact of life – physical activity directly correlates to our overall health status. As a whole we are encouraged to exercise to maintain or increase weight loss five days a week for a minimum of 30 minutes. We can definitely include heart and lung health, reduced risk of certain diseases (especially bone-related diseases such as osteoporosis), increased endurance, and mental health in with the plethora of benefits associated with a regular exercise program.
Another fact – most of us lead busy lives already overloaded with daily responsibilities. Women, and mothers in particular, whose days are filled with the business world and evenings are crammed with family duties may find it overwhelming to squeeze in time for a good 30 minute workout. With that in mind let’s look at a few ways we can get in several 10-minute exercises throughout the day.
Gardening and Outdoor Work
Mowing the grass with a push-mower definitely counts as exercise, and it saves the expense of hiring someone to do it for you. Growing fresh veggies is an excellent way to get greens in your diet. Weeding, digging and planting are all going to get your heart rate up and think of all the delicious goodies you’ll get in the end.
Mopping and hoovering is great exercise, but if you don’t have enough floor space to keep you busy for 10 or 15 minutes, don’t fret. You can certainly get out the gloves and cleaners and get in the nooks and crannies you’ve been meaning to get to for months.
Walk It Out
Walking to lose weight is both easy and effective. There are countless ways I could show you when to walk instead of sitting idle. For instance, take the dog for a walk instead of letting him loose in the backyard or walk the kiddos to school versus letting them jump on the bus or driving them yourself. If you’re at work and need to brainstorm for an upcoming meeting, take a walk around the building instead of sitting at your desk. While the kids are at karate or ballet lessons get up and take a power walk instead of pulling out a book to read or just watching. Perhaps the other parents might be interested in walking with you as well!
Wash the Car
Instead of running through the car wash or paying someone to wash it for you, get out there and play in the water yourself! Call me old-fashioned, but the car gets much cleaner with your own hands than a machine and you can work off some extra calories for free.
Play Time with the Kids
The next time you have the urge to shoo the kids to the garden to burn off some extra energy, think of all the calories you could burn if you were out there with them! Roll around in the leaves with them or play tag around the house. Venture out to a nearby park and push them on the swings or the merry-go-round. Most kids enjoy a good nature hike or bike ride as well. These are excellent ideas to get in some quality time and work those muscles!
Sports and Dance
Check with your local community centre, dance studios and library for sports leagues or dance classes you may be interested in joining. You’ll find everything from bowling to netball and darts to tennis available during different seasons. It’s a great way to make friends and socialise while getting some exercise. For a more informal family event, even throwing a frisbee back and forth will get the heart pumping.
Whatever you choose, remember you’re looking for activities to get your blood moving and increase your heart rate. You’ll know you’re doing it right if your breathing becomes more rapid and your body temperature is rising.