Not a Health Club Fan? No Problem – Do These 4 Things Instead!
You may relate to some of these comments I get from patients:
“I joined a health club once but didn’t use it enough to get my money’s worth.”
“Doc, I just don’t have the time or money to join a health club.”
“I really don’t feel comfortable wearing exercise clothes and working out in front of others.”
“I once took some classes but ended up injuring my shoulder because I wasn’t using the proper technique.”
My patients are often surprised to hear that there’s so much more to being physically active than just going the health club route. Don’t get me wrong – if you’re someone who loves the health club and goes regularly, please don’t stop!
But if you’re in the other camp, have no intention of joining a health club any time soon and know you need to be less sedentary, here are some things you can start doing today:
1 – Reduce sitting time
Just standing up is good for your muscles, metabolism and even your mind. But what happens to many of us is we get lost in our work and hours can go by before we realize how long we’ve been sitting still.
Instead, you can use an app or set a timer on your smartphone to remind yourself to get up and move around. Whether you get up every 30 minutes or once an hour, doing anything is better than just sitting all day long.
2 – Move more during the course of your normal day’s routine
Whether you spend your days in the office or at home, how much of that time is actually spent moving around? We may email and text fellow co-workers instead of walking to their offices. We may shop online instead of going to the store. We may pay bills online instead of walking to mail a letter.
Because of these modern conveniences, we need to be more deliberate in seeking opportunities to move more during the course of our normal day’s routine.
Try parking your car farther away, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking your dog longer, using a restroom that’s farthest from your work station, having a walking meeting with a work colleague or pacing while talking on a conference call.
Day after day, week after week, all these activities add up to boost better health.
3 – Start a brisk walking program
Brisk walking is the easiest exercise for people to do. All you need are a pair of good, supportive gym shoes and a safe place to walk.
Buddying up with a co-worker, neighbor or even your 4-legged friend can give you a motivation boost. You can start slow at 5 or 10-minute increments and build up from there.
4 – Don’t resist resistance
Instead of using weight machines at a club, you can do push-ups, planks or squats to get your body used to some resistance-type exercises.
You can also progress to using bands or free weights and do some simple resistance training at home. The American Council on Exercise at https://www.acefitness.org/ is an excellent resource.
All activity counts toward better health. As you become more comfortable building more activity into your daily routine, who knows, someday even you may turn into a health club fan!
Enjoy your health!
Robert Kushner, MD
Have a question for Dr. Kushner about boosting your activity during the course of your normal day’s routine? Would love to hear from you. Please go to my Contact page to share your experiences.