BPF Blog

First of all, just move more every day.

Fitness does not have to be an epic undertaking, especially if your expectations are realistic. Supermodels and actors are a) genetic anomolies, b) paid to look the way they look and spend a good amount of time and money to do it and c) costumed, airbrushed, photographed from good angles and sometimes nipped and tucked to look the way they do. For the average person with a desk job, kids, and a budget, looking like Madonna is going to be a lot harder than it is for Madonna. That doesn't mean you should get discouraged and neglect your fitness altogether in despair! American attitudes tend toward the all-or-nothing, and it is killing us. Nearly everyone can benefit from increasing their physical fitness, but many people think of it as such an enormous endeavor that they never begin. Increasing your fitness doesn't mean you have to run a marathon tomorrow, or for that matter, ever! You don't have to be an extreme fitness enthusiast to be healthier, just like you don't have to be an auto mechanic to get regular oil changes to keep your car in good working order.

One step you can take toward better health is simply to look for ways to move more than you do now on a daily basis. Government guidelines say that you should exercise for at least half an hour each day (more if you're trying to lose weight), but that doesn't mean this needs to happen all at once. A few minutes at a time will all add up. This doesm't mean there's no merit in longer workouts, but if you feel you have no time and have to start somewhere, stealing a few minutes here and there is a great way to go.

Here are some ideas:

-Take a few minutes to walk around at the office instead of sitting all day. Go over to your coworkers' desks instead of emailing. Take a 5 minute break to get up, stretch and walk around. This actually helps your productivity and mental health as well as your physical well-being.

-Use commercial breaks during your favorite shows to get up and walk up and down the stairs a few times, jog in place, stretch or do something else active for a few minutes.

-If you're at your kid's sporting event, don't just sit in the bleachers. Be up and walking around while you watch, for at least part of the time.

-If you have an exercise bike, treadmill or other piece of unused exercise equipment sitting around, make a commitment to use it for 10 minutes in the morning before you start your day. You can do it in your bathrobe, with very little fuss.

-If a song on the radio makes you feel like dancing, do it!

-Take the stairs. If you don't want to take the stairs all the way, take the stairs for a flight or two before getting on the elevator.

-Play with your kids (or someone else's!) instead of just watching them play. Let the energy of youth inspire you!

-Find ways to make spending time with friends and family active. Bowling instead of a movie; a walk in the park instead of a coffeehouse chat.

-If you're in the middle of a stressful project or bad day, take a few minutes to punch a pillow or stomp around and blow off steam. The physical release will help your mood and get you back on track.

Be creative in looking for opportunities to move your body. The more you do it on a daily basis, the better your health will be in the long run - you'll feel, look and function better than if you let those opportunities pass you by.