Guest columnist Erin Troy is a wellness director and personal trainer for the YMCA of Greater Cleveland.
If your home workout equipment has become a clothes hanger, don’t be too hard on yourself. The good intentions that brought you to make that purchase are still there — you just need a little help.
Many people cite lack of time as the reason they do not exercise. However, staying fit does not have to mean blocking off hours at a time. Often, minutes will do.
The CDC states that regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Being physically active can improve your brain health, help you manage weight, reduce the risk of disease, strengthen bones and muscles, and improve your ability to do everyday activities.
Adults who sit less and do any amount of moderate to vigorous physical activity gain some health benefits. Only a few lifestyle choices have as significant an impact on your health as physical activity.
It is widely recommended that you strive for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity weekly to combat chronic disease risks and promote health.
Just seeing 150 minutes can seem like a lot. But what if you looked at it as 30 minutes five times a week? Still seems like a lot, so why not break it up into 10- or 15-minute sessions?
Many people find shorter workouts to be more tolerable or enjoyable.
Breaking up even a 30-minute workout into smaller mini-workouts may provide the same benefits as continuous exercise. If you don’t have time for 30 minutes at once, try breaking it up into three 10-minute workouts throughout the day.
Breaking a workout into smaller, more bite-sized portions improves aerobic fitness and weight loss and may even help with long-term adherence to the exercise program.
Each session does not have to be the same activity. Your first workout could be a brisk walk, the second could be a series of body weight exercises, and maybe you top it off with time on a stationary bike or walking up and down your stairs.
Even if something comes up and you can only get in one or two of the 10-minute workouts that day, you still did good and moved your body in the right direction. You can make up that missed 10-minute workout another day.
Here are some examples of weekly exercise programs with varying activities and lengths of time (provided by the CDC):
• Moderate-Intensity Activity and Muscle-Strengthening Activity: Five days of brisk walking for 30 minutes, combined with two days of lifting weights.
• Vigorous-Intensity Activity and Muscle-Strengthening Activity: Three days of 25-minute jogs with two days of lifting weights.
• Mix of Moderate- and Vigorous-Intensity Activity and Muscle-Strengthening Activity: Three days with 30-minute brisk walks, two days of 15-minute jogs and two days of lifting weights.
Fitness centers like the YMCA of Greater Cleveland provide a wide variety of workout equipment, group exercise classes, swimming pools and other activities to break up your exercise routine.
Those who wish to add professional guidance and healthy goals can work with a personal trainer who will ensure your routine is both varied and beneficial. Personal trainers also serve as accountability coaches who will hold you to your fitness goals while motivating you to achieve them.
When it comes to staying fit, the time is now. The good news is, staying healthy doesn’t have to take a lot of your time!
Readers are invited to submit Opinion page essays on topics of regional or general interest. Send your 500-word essay for consideration to Ann Norman at [email protected]. Essays must include a brief bio and headshot of the writer. Essays rebutting today’s topics are also welcome.