Week Two Challenge: Exercise for 30 minutes a day!
During the course of the week, you will be challenged to do 30 minutes of exercise each day along with maintaining your healthy habit of eating 5 servings of fruits and vegetables. Some tips on adding more physical activity into your lifestyle are below.
Why it's important?
Exercise improves your health and can help you live longer. Making lifestyle changes to increase physical activity can lower your chances of chronic diseases like obesity, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, depression, etc. Are the jeans feeling a little tight? Is work getting stressful already? Along with eating healthy, physical activity is also the best way to reach your goals of looking and feeling great!
What are the components of physical activity?
Physical activity is any type of activity that gets your body moving. According to national guidelines, the most important kinds of activities are aerobic exercise and muscle-strengthening activities.
Aerobic exercise or "cardio" gets you breathing harder and your heart beating faster. Traditionally, we thinking of vigorous-intensity activities like running and swimming, but more moderate-intensity activities like brisk walking from the subway stop and bicycling to the store can also count – so long as they get your heart-rate up.
Muscle-strengthening activities, or resistance training, work all the major muscle groups of your body (legs, hips, back, chest, abdomen, shoulders, and arms). Examples include lifting weights, working with resistance bands, shoveling snow, doing yoga, and doing push-ups/sit-ups. The most important thing is that they need to be done to a point where it's hard for you to do another repetition without help.
Here are some minimum guidelines from the CDC:
Adults need at least:
- 2 hours and 30 minutes (150 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (i.e., brisk walking) every week or 1 hour and 15 minutes (75 minutes) of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity (i.e., jogging or running) every week and
- muscle-strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms).
10 to 15 minutes at a time is just fine!
Although 30 minutes of continuous exercise is desirable, you can still achieve health benefits by breaking it up into smaller chunks of 10 to 15 minutes throughout the day as long as they get your heart rate up. This means that if you take two brisk 15 minute walks between your house (or work) and subway stop each day, you achieved the day's challenge!
Tips to help you get started
- Take the stairs: Using the stairs is an easy way to fit physical activity into your day. It saves time waiting for the elevator, is better for the environment, and burns more calories!
- Get off of the subway one stop early: If you don’t have time to work out, you can fit in some extra movement by getting off of the subway a stop earlier than you need to and walking a little further to your destination.
- You don't have to give up on daytime walks during the winter. Grab a colleague or friend and take a lunchtime walk.
- Choose activities you enjoy. Many things count as exercise like hiking, gardening, vacuuming, and dancing.
- Stay motivated by exercising with someone at home or at work and make it a social event.
- Make a commitment to join a gym this year! Discounts are available for faculty and staff at several gyms in and around New York City.
Workout at Home
Workout videos are a great, inexpensive way to stay fit in the comfort of your own home. Netflix has a wide range of fitness videos and often has free trial periods for new subscribers. Also, Hulu has a few health and fitness channels that feature instructional videos, mainly for yoga.
Podcasts, such as iTRAIN, enable you to download exercise routines to any MP3 player. The iTunes store has a long list of podcasts, many of which you can download for free.
The Nintendo Wii’s Wii Fit is another fun way to stay active indoors.
Develop your own at home workout. You don’t need expensive equipment to get a good workout—just use your own body weight, and some creativity. Or, you can buy an inexpensive resistance band to aid your home work out.
Free Fitness Classes Near You
Shaping up has never been this easy! Shape Up NYC, a program run by NYC Department of Parks and Recreation offers free fitness classes every week at dozens of locations across the five boroughs. Shape Up NYC classes are taught by expert fitness instructors who know how to make fitness fun. Class offerings are varied and include aerobics, yoga, pilates and zumba. No pre-registration is required, so just find the location in your neighborhood.