By Heather L. Dyson
Fitting in Fitness: Staying Healthy in a Busy Life
For some people, exercise can feel like a huge chore. Our schedules are often jam-packed with work, kids, hobbies, and maybe even sleep if we are lucky, so it can sometimes seem impossible to fit in exercise. But we all know how important it is to stay active, so how can we fit in fitness without giving up all our free time? Here are some ways you can keep moving throughout the day and maximize your time in the gym!
Take the Stairs
I know, the elevator is faster and you have your hands full, but did you know that stair climbing burns more calories than jogging? You also burn calories going up or down the stairs, with an average calorie burn of 1 calorie per 10 steps up and 1 calorie per 20 steps down (1). That small exertion of energy gets your heart pumping and muscles engaged, so you can squeeze in bursts of cardio and strength training by simply taking the stairs.
Park Farther Away
We all like to try to find the closest spot possible when we go grocery shopping or hit the mall. Rather than spending time doing loops in the parking lot looking for the closest spot, pick a spot on the outskirts and get a little walk in before shopping. You’ll minimize the time you spend sitting and get in some extra steps with little additional time commitment.
Move During Commercials
You don’t always have to sacrifice TV time for exercise. Stepping in place during the commercial breaks can burn an average of 148 calories for 25 minutes of commercials, as compared to burning 304 calories for walking on the treadmill for an hour (2). Talk about a time-saver! Next time you are watching your favorite show, try doing a few squats or stretches during the commercial breaks to get your body moving and break up your sedentary time. You can even do some exercises while seated to loosen up your muscles, engage your core, and increase your heart rate.
Maximize Your Gym Time
Even if you add little bouts of extra movement throughout your day, it is still important to make dedicated time to get in higher levels of cardio and specific strength training. The best way to keep your time at the gym short and sweet is to use high-intensity interval training, or HIIT. This doesn’t mean doing crazy high box-jumps or 5 minutes of burpees; HIIT is your personal all-out effort for a short burst, typically 30 seconds followed by 1-2 minutes of rest. Even just 30 minutes of this type of training can burn 290 calories (3).
HIIT is a great way to mix up your workouts and also fit in exercise on days you may be shorter on time. Instead of spending hours on the treadmill and hitting every weight machine in the gym, try picking a few pieces of equipment and movements to do in sets of 3 using the HIIT technique. You’ll get a better burn in a shorter amount of time, and can be back home relaxing before you know it!
Staying active and in shape isn’t always easy, but with some small tweaks to your routine, you can take the hassle out of health and fit in fitness wherever you are. At STAC, you have our team of fitness professionals ready to help. Join us today to learn more about how you can make staying healthy and fit simple and fun!
By Heather L. Dyson
For some people, getting in shape is all about looking good. Maybe you have a beach vacation coming up, or you’re getting married next summer, or you just want to feel good when you look in the mirror. But fitness is so much more than being swimsuit-ready. Regular exercise has been shown to lower the risk of developing many chronic and lifelong medical conditions later in life, including cardiovascular disease and diabetes. By making time for fitness, you are giving yourself the gift of health and longevity.
Cardiovascular health is a struggle for many people as they age. A combination of poor diet, lack of exercise, and irregular sleep patterns can be major contributors to this condition. If you have been hitting the drive-thru and skipping the gym for the last decade, don’t worry- it’s not too late. Exercise can actually help to reverse some of the precursors to cardiovascular disease by helping improve overall functions. When you exercise, your muscles are strengthened and can pull oxygen out of the blood more efficiently. This means that your heart doesn’t need to pump as often in order to get more blood to the muscles (1). Exercise has also been shown to lower both your heart rate and your blood pressure because it works like a beta blocker (1). These things combined can help lower or prevent the risk of heart attack later in life.
Exercise can also help to prevent the development of type II diabetes, which is caused by poor diet, inactivity, and obesity. Getting active has a number of benefits on the body’s ability to absorb sugar and regulate blood sugar levels. Exercise causes an increase in muscle glucose uptake, an improvement in blood lipid levels, and a decrease in insulin sensitivity (2). All of these things help your body maintain steady blood sugar levels throughout the day. No more drastic swings because you haven’t eaten in a couple hours! People can prevent the onset of diabetes by exercising regularly, and people with diabetes can better manage their condition with these same exercise benefits.
As people age, there is a natural loss of bone strength and muscle mass. However, this is worsened greatly by inactivity and can actually be slowed significantly through regular exercise. Exercise isn’t just about getting big pecs or toned triceps though. Our bones actually become stronger through regular exercise, just like our muscles. The stress placed upon bones during physical activity actually causes them to become more dense because of the increase in calcium content (3). Weight-bearing exercises and high impact exercises are the best ones to do to strengthen your bones (3). By having strong bones, you can maintain mobility throughout your entire life and prevent or delay the onset of conditions like osteoporosis.
When it comes to your health, it’s never too late to take steps to make it better. Steamboat Tennis & Athletic Club is here to provide solutions to help you get on the right track. Whether you need guidance on strength training or nutrition, we can help. Contact us today to learn more about joining our gym and getting the support you need!