By Daphne Baldwin Kornrich, MS, RDN, CDN
Life gets hectic sometimes, and there are many things that demand our attention. Work, school, commuting, and family obligations can be overwhelming at times. Often it’s our physical activity that suffers, although being active and exercising is one of the best ways to reduce stress.
Fortunately, even if you can’t find time to get to the gym or take a nice long walk there are many ways to fit in fitness at home.
Our bodies are made to move, but over the past few decades technology has drastically reduced the amount of energy we expend doing household chores. Automated washers for our dishes, clothing, and cars and remote controls that operate our television and window blinds all contribute to less movement and decreased fitness.
It’s important to try to find ways to increase your activity. One tip is to make chores more inconvenient. When putting away clean laundry try taking several trips from the laundry room to each room rather than carrying the whole pile in one trip. You can use the same strategy when unloading grocery bags from the car. This extra activity goes a long way to increase your daily steps. Activities like vacuuming and mopping floors use a lot of energy, which may leave you feeling more drained. Try putting on your favorite upbeat music to add some fun while cleaning. You may find yourself adding in some extra dance steps too.
Fall is coming and the leaves are dropping, so it’s the perfect time to take out the rake and start the clean-up. You can make up your own routine – rake a bit, do a squat to pick up leaves, put the leaves in a bag, and repeat. You will feel a sense of accomplishment when you are finished. Love music? No need to be at a club or disco. Find a place at home where you can turn up the music and dance the night away. You will get a great aerobic workout while having fun!
Technology is a good thing when we use it to be more active. Limit passive TV time, and increase active family time by using games such as Dance Dance Revolution, Nintendo Wii, and WiFit. Playing fitness games are an opportunity to build closeness and a healthier lifestyle for the whole family. Pedometers, Smart phones, Fitbit and Apple Watches can all help us track our activity at home. Set goals and participate in challenges to increase the incentive to move. There are many apps and YouTube videos to help you stay active and exercise at home such as the Gain Fitness, Daily Workout Free, The Daily HIIT: Efficient, and Tara Styles: Yoga.
Don’t forget to include some strength training in your routine. Resistance bands and free weights are perfect for home fitness. Treadmills and stationary bikes are great for cardiovascular exercise, or perhaps investing in a Spin bicycle is more your speed. The more you enjoy an activity the more likely you will continue with it.
Check with your doctor prior to starting any exercise routine to make sure there are no contraindications.
Daphne Baldwin Kornrich has been a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for the past 30 years, working in a wide variety of clinical and outpatient settings. Daphne currently specializes in Bariatrics and Weight Management.