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FIRST-PERSON: Lifestyle fitness activities

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–How much does it cost to exercise? It’s not the memberships, clothes, shoes or equipment as you might expect. The biggest cost and therefore the biggest excuse given to not participating in exercise is TIME.

According to the American Heart Association, you need a minimum of 20 minutes of consistent exercise at least three times a week to maintain adequate cardiovascular health. One of the best ways to begin this plan is to walk out your front door for 10 minutes and turn around and walk back. Walking is an exercise that requires little to no equipment and can be done inside or outside. Walking strengthens your heart, lungs and muscles. Walking can also be a time to spend with a friend or family member. Walking is a great way to reap many exercise benefits with little cost involved. Walking allows you to clear your mind and focus on God’s gift of your body.

There are a number of ways to create a more active lifestyle for yourself. This will keep your muscles and joints strong and functioning. Consider the following suggestions to adding more activity into your everyday life.

— Take walking breaks. Instead of sitting in the break room, take a walk around the block or in the halls of the building.

— Climb stairs. Any opportunity you have to walk up or down stairs is a chance to strengthen your legs and burn more calories.

— Park farther from the door. No matter where you are going, choose the farthest parking spot and walk to the door.

— Use a piece of exercise equipment, like a stationary bike or a treadmill, while you read or watch TV.

— Stand rather than sit to talk on the phone.

— Play an active game with your children or grandchildren. Tag is a great opportunity to have fun, laugh and exercise all at the same time.

— Sweep your driveway with a push broom.

— Rake leaves, shovel snow or dig holes for planting flowers. Any of these manual activities will use muscles, burn calories and accomplish necessary tasks.

A combination of any of these activities will add up to a good overall health level for your heart. But, if weight loss is a part of your wellness goals, you will need to do more than the minimum required to burn those extra calories. Combine an active lifestyle with 30 minutes a day of continuous movement to reap the calorie burning benefits that lead to weight loss.

Leading an active lifestyle that includes regular exercise as well as lifestyle activities will help you accomplish your wellness goals.
Branda Polk is a Health Ministry Specialist with LifeWay Christian Resources.
— The Fit 4 Fitness Starter Kit is a resource to help you develop a fitness plan that meets your needs. For information about the kit or to find more information on wellness issues visit www.fit4.com.

    About the Author

  • Branda Polk