Day 20 – Simple Ways to Start Adding Exercise to Your Day

This post – in fact, this entire blog – is not meant to exclude anyone, regardless of current level of fitness.  As I see it, each of us is on our own journey.  Most of us do not have personal trainers, much less personal chefs.  We have other obligations that may prevent us from spending two or three hours each day working out and another couple of hours in the kitchen preparing all our meals from scratch with organic veggies we have grown ourselves.

Here’s the good news:  You can start moving toward better fitness, better health, with very little time.  Start with just a few minutes a day.  You won’t get ripped in a week by spending 10 minutes a day, of course – but you can start making a difference.  Here are a few ideas that you can do in 2 minutes each, or less:

  • Push-ups – yes, the grand-daddy of them all.  Do them in your PJ’s before you even start your day.  Do them on your knees if you can’t do them on your toes.  Do what you can do at the beginning.  You will get stronger over time.  I have worked up to doing 8 on my toes, and am immensely proud to have come so far!
  • Leg lifts.  Another one to do in your jammies, even before you get out of the bed (although you will have to kick off the blankets).  Lie on your back with one knee up and your foot flat on the bed or floor (this will help protect your lower back from any strain).  Slowly raise your straight leg as far as you can.  Try to raise each leg 5 times.
  • Lunges.  Take a huge step forward, and bring your back knee down close to the floor.  Come back up to standing, then take a huge step with the other foot.  Start with 8 or 10 (4 or 5 on each leg).  Make sure your knee stays over your ankle and doesn’t jet out in front; not usually a problem if you take a really big step forward each time.
  • Jumping jacks.  I’m with you – I can’t jump either.  Lots of us don’t jump, and for a variety of reasons.  Just do “jacks”, without jumping.  You know the arm movement already.  When your arms go up, tap one foot out to the side.  Arms come down, tap the other foot out to the side.  Or, when your arms go up, raise one knee – and when your arms come back down, raise the other knee.  Try for 20 jacks.
  • This last one will take more time, but it is just as simple:  Walk.  My own fitness journey started with a walk around the block.  The next night after work I did it again, and again the night after that.  My block was about a mile and a quarter, and fairly hilly.  It took me a half hour or so, and I was huffing and puffing that first time.  I got stronger, and so will you if you do it consistently.

Like so many things in life, the most important step you take is the first one. Decide that this is your time to take charge of your health, and then start. Start with baby steps, and don’t beat yourself up when you feel like you can’t do enough.  You can start now, you can be stronger next week, you can notice a difference in how your clothes fit next month, and you can reach your goals.  But you have to start!

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