‘Tis the season for making a New Year’s resolution to get active — and promptly breaking it. (If you are one of the reported 35 percent of people who do that by the end of January). Holland Centre Physiotherapist Suzanne Denis says don’t fear the “get active” resolution. There’s lots of ways to add activity to your daily routine so the resolution is easier to keep. And it doesn’t have to involve dragging yourself to the gym for hours.
Start Low and Go Slow
If you haven’t been active, don’t overdo it. If you start to strong, you might burn yourself out, or find it hard to keep up when the demands of life start piling up. Start with low intensity activities for short periods of time. You may feel mild muscle discomfort. If something really hurts, stop.
Think outside the Gym
Not everyone is a “gym” person. Don’t feel pressured to fork out a pretty penny for a gym membership, especially if running on a treadmill isn’t something you like to do. Exercise is any activity that gets your heart rate up. If the weather is OK (wear footwear with good tread!), try walking with Nordic Poles, skiing, snowshoeing or skating. For you indoor types, consider a swim, aqua fit or a spinning class at your local community centre.
Break it up
The Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines recommend 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity per week. “If you think of it as 0 is no work at all, and 10 is ‘I’m working as hard as I can’, moderately vigorous is between 6 and 7,” Suzanne explains. The 150 minutes a week works out to roughly 30 minutes a day (with two days off). But, you can break this down even further and try three 10-minute chunks of activity per day. Several studies show that the 10-minute chunks provide health benefits. Take the stairs in the morning. Park a little further than your usual rock-star spot when you get to work. Take a walk at lunch.
Do you get 150 minutes per week of activity? How? (For me, it usually includes a few mornings a week of chasing after the bus!)