-11 April 2019

How much exercise do you actually need?

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Training and I have this love, hate relationship.  I hate exercise, but boy, do I love the high I get from it afterwards!

A friend once told me that the hardest part of exercising is putting your shoes on.  Once you hit the road, the gym or that exercise class and the endorphins (happy hormones) kick in, you’ll never regret that you put your shoes on in the first place.

Exercise is an amazing activity. It is tough to start, but once you do, you feel energized and invigorated. The more you move, the more you see your body and emotions change. The more you see change, the more you are motivated to move more. Our bodies are machines and we were made to move.

But life has become very demanding and we don’t always seem to be able to fit exercise into our ultra-busy schedules. That’s just it, it seems like you don’t have time. You need to make time. This is why.

Health benefits of exercise

How do I fit exercise into my busy schedule?

“There must be a better way”, we think to ourselves. There is. The key is making exercise a priority. When something is a priority you will make time for it.

We simply have to make a habit of fitting in bits of exercise every moment we can. These moments of movement must be purposeful and decided. Call them your “me” moments. Book them in your diary and treat them like appointments that can’t be missed.

Some believe that it is best to exercise early in the mornings so that you can get it out of the way. Others prefer late afternoons or over lunchtime for stress relief. Whichever you choose. Book it and keep to it. Keep a calendar and challenge yourself to keep to a 28-day schedule, which is more or less the time it takes to form a habit. Once you have formed the habit, it will be hard to go without it.

How much exercise do you need?

“So, how much exercise do we really need?” If you’re anything like me, you’re wondering about these things all the time.

The amount of exercise you need really depends on what your goals are and how active or stationary your daily life is. Your age, weight and so on, are also factors to take into consideration. 10 000 steps or 30 minutes of physical activity a day is a general idea of what exercise should look like in your day to day, at the very least.

Here’s a great article from Harvard on how much exercise you need.

Now the challenge is how to fit it all in, even 30 minutes seems like a lot of time you don’t have. Let’s take a look at what the experts have to say.

Here are a few pointers from the “Hello doctor” team with Dr Michael Mol:

6 Exercises you can do during lunch:

  1. Take a pair of walking shoes with you to work and go for a 30-minute brisk walk around your office complex or the neighbourhood.
  2. If you really can’t break away for 30 minutes at one time, then aim for a 15-minute walk before work, during lunch and after work. When you add up the time and energy spent, you should be burning an extra 400-600 calories a day – depending on the pace you walk.
  3. Walking up and down the stairs increases your heart rate and your metabolism. Plus it works to tone your bum and thighs – bonus!
  4. 30 minutes of walking up and down the stairs at a decent pace will burn off in excess of 500+ calories
  5. Have a ‘walk and talk meeting’, instead of sitting in the boardroom
  6. Finally, buy a pedometer and set yourself daily goals of how many steps you’ll take – and challenge yourself to go further when you reach them. Grocery shopping, running errands, it all adds up.

Exercise is an investment in your health.  It has so many benefits for the here and the now and for the future.  Once you start prioritising it you will find that you have a lot more capacity for the stresses and demand of this life.

So get moving, it’s worth the effort.

– Liesl Carstens, Montagu Marketing Manager, mom of three, wife, busy lady.

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