Working out is an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but sometimes it can be hard to find the time to fit it in. A Baylor College of Medicine expert gives his tips on how to incorporate fitness into your daily life.
“I always tell my patients any time you can get up and move is the best time to work out. It doesn’t matter if it’s in the morning, middle of the day or at night,” said Dr. Irvin Sulapas, assistant professor of family and community medicine at Baylor and primary care sports medicine physician. “The American College of Sports Medicine recommends exercising at minimum 150 minutes per week, but you can spread that out however you want – 30 minutes five times a week or an hour three times a week.”
To help integrate fitness into your daily life, Sulapas offered the following tips:
- Use the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Park farther away so you get in a few extra steps.
- If possible, walk or bike to your workplace.
- During your lunch break, take a walk for 15 to 20 minutes around the block to get in some exercise.
- Instead of carrying a big water bottle or thermos, keep your drink in a small mug or glass so you will have to get up from your desk to refill your drink.
- Exercise at your desk. Good options are leg lifts and knee lifts. You also can stand up and do squats to get your legs pumping.
- Even something as simple as getting up from your desk and walking around your office for a couple of minutes every hour or two can help.
- If possible, use a sit/stand desk, which can give you the option of being a little bit more active in your workplace.
- Eat healthy. Sulapas recommends having small, frequent meals and having healthy snacks such as yogurt, fruit, and peanuts. Eating these types of snacks can stave off hunger and improve weight loss.
- Stay hydrated whenever you exercise. When exercising you exert a lot of energy and staying hydrated can prevent injuries, cramping, early fatigue, and the possibility of fainting.
Sulapas explained that getting in the recommend amount exercise is essential to maintaining your health.
“Exercise keeps your metabolic rate up so you can burn more calories. It also helps you lose weight and lowers the risk of you developing cardiovascular diseases and metabolic diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure. Routine exercise can be a great way to keep your body healthy and prevent those issues,” Sulapas said. “Besides prevention, if you already have those conditions, multiple studies have shown that if you exercise you can actually improve your diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol to give you a healthy body. Also, if you regularly exercise you may be able to decrease the dosage of certain medications you are taking or stop taking medications altogether if you have these conditions.”