All Woman

Ways to fit exercise into your busy schedule

BY NADINE WILSON All Woman writer wilsonn@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, August 20, 2012    

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WHEN life gets busy, exercise is one of those things that usually falls by the wayside. For some people it just doesn't factor as being important when compared to putting in some overtime at work, studying, or taking care of the family.

"People have all sorts of excuses. They will tell you that they don't have the time," said fitness expert Greg Dawkins from Greg's Extreme Fitness in Spanish Town, St Catherine.

But experts continue to warn that just 30 minutes of exercise daily is crucial for physical well-being and can extend one's life expectancy. Yes, life is busy, but no matter how busy you are, there are always ways to fit in a bit of exercise into your daily life.

Getting a work-out doesn't have to mean sweating it out in the gym, although that is great if you can make time for it. With just a few amendments to your sedentary life, it is possible to burn a few extra calories during the day without even realising it. Here are some ways Dawkins suggests you can fit regular exercise into a busy lifestyle.

1. Become an active TV watcher.

If your days are spent before a TV or computer screen, there are ways to get a good work-out without missing out much on your favourite TV shows. Get off the couch and try doing some jumping jacks, push-ups or planks to keep your heart pumping while your programme is on, or do them during a commercial break. While at the computer, try doing some ab crunches while seated, or completely do away with your chair and try a stability ball instead, which will not detract from your ability to surf the 'net.

2. Make outings with the family more fun.

Instead of going to the movies or eating out all the while, try to make family time fun by planning activities that will keep you moving. Try hiking to the Blue Mountains or play games such as football, basketball or netball with your children during the evenings or on weekends. "If everybody can ride, you can also do some cycling too," said Dawkins. You can also plan monthly 5k runs with your extended family or even just challenge each other on the treadmill to see who is the fittest. "You don't even have to compete with machines. If you have a skipping rope, you can compete to see who can do the most," the fitness expert pointed out.

3. Become an active commuter.

If you live close to work, why not cut back on expenses and get your exercise in by walking? If you must take the bus to and from work, you can easily fit 10 minutes of exercise in by coming off at a bus stop a good distance from work, and walking the rest of the way to your destination. Also take the stairs at work instead of the elevators and park at the farthest parking spot at the mall or even at work and walk the rest of the way in.

4. Make doing chores fun.

Housework can be very taxing on the body, but that's what makes scrubbing the floors and dusting the furniture a great fat buster. Make house-cleaning more fun by popping in your favourite CD and doing some dance moves while you clean. Don't worry, you don't have to be a good dancer, the aim is just to break some sweat.

"You'll just need to do it with some rhythm to it and you'll find that housework is actually fun," said Dawkins. Also use your mop or broomstick to do some ab twisters.

5. Take frequent "walk breaks".

When work stress starts knocking, take a five-minute break and go for a stroll. This will not only help to clear your head space, but it is also a good way to rev up your metabolism.

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