Column: Finding time for fitness


Commentary by Jessica Swenberg, MD

Whether caring for children, pursuing a career or both, women 45 and under often have difficulty finding time for exercise. And while maintaining fitness at this age can be challenging, women can achieve success when they think more about how to incorporate exercise into their day. Consider these tips:

Stay active all day. Be deliberate in your approach to daily exercise by mixing fitness into what you already do. Cleaning and household chores are a great way to keep you moving. Taking your kids to the park? Play a game of hide and seek, tone your arms on the monkey bars or jump rope with your kids. At work, take the stairs more often, park your car at the far corner of the lot to increase your walking distance, or take a brisk 15-minute walk during lunch or a break. Remember any activity that increases your heart rate and breathing constitutes moderate activity, and that’s the goal.

Don’t focus on quantity. Regular exercise doesn’t mean spending two hours at the gym every day. In fact, achieving a basic level of fitness doesn’t take much time. Carving out 10- to 15-minute blocks of time each day to walk, do simple floor strengthening exercises or exercise with a DVD can help increase fitness.

Develop a fitness plan. Staying fit requires a certain level of commitment. In light of your busy schedule, think about what you can reasonably do when it comes to exercise. Then make a plan and stick with it.

Making regular fitness a part of daily life has many benefits. Women who exercise will find they have more energy to make it through busy days, and they’ll be healthier to truly enjoy what lies ahead.

Jessica Swenberg, MD, specializes in family medicine. She is a guest columnist located at IU Health Physicians Family Medicine, 55 Brendon Way, Ste. 800, in Zionsville. She can be reached by calling the office at 317.777.6400.

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