People often think of physical activity as a lot of work — that we must exhaust ourselves during a workout to make it worth it. But that’s not the case at all.
Dr. Robert Gabbay, M.D., Ph.D.
Chief Scientific and Medical Officer, American Diabetes Association
I’m not perfect when it comes to physical activity, and that’s OK. Every day is a chance to try something new.
When it comes to exercising, I have an exercise routine that’s important to me, not just for health, but for stress management. And when I feel I haven’t been giving my body what it needs, whether that be exercise or even rest, I adjust my habits. For example, if I didn’t sleep well one night, I try to sleep more the next night. Or if I don’t have time to get on my exercise routine or get my steps in, I adjust my walking routes for the day to compensate. I try to be flexible and change with my day to make sure I get some type of activity in.
To incorporate activity, I plan ahead and set goals for the following week. I like to play basketball and do yoga, so I make sure I schedule times for those activities. Living in the middle of Boston, I walk a lot, often opting to walk to places like the grocery store rather than driving. Taking walks is a great way to start incorporating activity because you can control the duration and route while making sure it fits into your daily life. As little as 30 minutes a day can make a big difference in your health.
When it comes to the safety of physical activity, this changes from person to person. I recommend speaking with your healthcare professional to determine where to start if you have not been active. We are all at a different point in our physical health, and understanding where we are and where we want to go is the best way to stay safe.
We should also never forget to make it fun! Staying active doesn’t need to be the low part your day. You should look forward to that walk, basketball game, or yoga session. Change it up and don’t be afraid to try something new when you are feeling stuck.
Physical activity is a great way to reduce stress and find new activities you enjoy. When we can reframe our physical activity to make it easy, safe, and fun, we can improve our overall health!