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Feature Articles: Exercise


Real guidelines for real people: Everyday activity solutions

Linda Rellergert, Nutrition Specialist, St. Charles County, University of Missouri Extension


The best path to fitness, by far, is regular physical activity. Active people tend to be healthier and have a better attitude toward life in general.

To become more active, you can join a health club or just start a walking routine in your neighborhood. To get the benefits, all you need is a total of 30 to 45 minutes of moderate activity for at least 5 days a week. For example, three brisk 10-minute walks will do the trick.

Change the “E” word from exercise to enjoyment. You’ll be much more likely to make activity part of your daily routine if you are having a good time. Here are ten easy, fun ways to move more and to enhance your flexibility, strength and overall fitness at any age.

  1. Take a walk – or a hike. Walk around the house, around the neighborhood or around the mall. Walk to the grocery store, the post office or the park. Walk alone or with a friend. Just walk – every day.
  2. Use the stairs to build your legs. Forget the boredom of a stair machine. Pump up your leg muscles with the real thing. Skip elevators and escalators whenever you can, and add an extra flight or two of stairs during break time.
  3. Stretch your body to energize your day. Use a towel to stretch your shoulders and upper body when you get out of the shower each morning. Take a minute or two to stretch your legs and back while sitting at your desk or watching TV.
  4. Take advantage of phone time. Keep a small weight (2 to 5 pounds) near the phone and do biceps curls while you talk with family, friends or colleagues. Wander around the house or the office while you talk on a cordless phone.
  5. Play with kids – or just act like a kid. Hit a few balls, shoot some hoops, throw a Frisbee, jump rope, play hopscotch, swing on a swing, or go fly a kite. Make family time fitness time and have a ton of fun together.
  6. Dance more often. Take a class in salsa, swing or square dancing. Make a dance date instead of a dinner or movie date. Turn up the stereo and rock around the house while you vacuum or sweep.
  7. Build mini-walks into each day. Walk around the block when you go out to get the mail. Walk around the office or the building at work. Walk around the sidelines during your kids’ sports practice or ball game.
  8. Be more active by being less efficient. Take items up or down the stairs individually, instead of piling them up for one big trip. Connect with people by walking to their office instead of calling or sending email.
  9. Work in the yard whenever you can. Dig, hoe, mow, rake and shovel. The more work you do by hand, the fitter you will become – and the better your yard will look.
  10. Just do it – be physically active each day. Do it alone or do it with a friend. Do it all at once or do it 10 minutes at a time. Do it inside or do it outside. Do it briskly or do it slowly. Do the same thing or do different things. Just do it.


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Last update: Tuesday, October 13, 2015