The federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says all adults age 18-64 need 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise a week.
Who has time for that?
For many of us, getting fit is an ever-present entry on our to-do list. We know we need to do it, we have the best intentions, but in the end, the task is just too overwhelming and routine-changing to conquer. We already have days packed with work, errands, and family and social commitments. Where could those 150 minutes possibly come from?
"The most common excuse we hear from people about why they're not working out is 'I don't have time,'" says Jennipher Walters, a personal trainer in Kansas City, Mo., and co-founder of the website Fit Bottomed Girls. "But everyone's busy."
The time for exercise is hidden in our schedules, Walters says, if we look closely enough. "The first step is to be candid," she says. "Where are you kind of lying to yourself about where you can find more time?"
Try this: Keep a week-long diary of all the time you spend in sedentary activities. Then review your log and target small pockets of time within those seated periods that could be better spent exercising.
How short can an exercise session be? The CDC has no problem with you working out in a series of 10-minute bursts throughout the week. In fact, it's a great way to get started if you haven't exercised regularly for a while.
Another key concept to keep in mind is that there's a whole range of opportunities for aerobic exercise that don't involve running on a track or going to a gym — and some of them are downright delightful, like chasing your kids or grandkids around the backyard. The more such opportunities you can string throughout the week, the closer you'll be to reaching your target.
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