There is nothing moderate exercise won’t help. It’s true. I have yet to find a health problem that won’t benefit from an exercise routine. Fatigue, depression, cancer, diabetes, hypertension, and more. We need it to prevent and restore mental, physical, and emotional energy losses too.
Many of us suffer from “sitting disease,” the ill-effects of a sedentary lifestyle. Our bodies are made for activity and require it daily. A 30-minute exercise routine benefits all the things you want to accomplish every damn day.
Fun fact: the lymph system doesn’t have a pump to move a fluid containing infection-fighting white blood cells throughout the body or help rid it of toxins, waste, and other unwanted materials.
What Counts as an Exercise Routine?
While 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise is recommended for adults, you may not see a path that will get you there right now. Maybe you feel you don’t have the time. Or maybe you’re low on energy. Or maybe you’ve had little success with an exercise routine in the past.
That’s ok. Start where you are and use a broad definition of exercise. Walking, stretching, playing with your kids outside, cleaning the house, riding bikes, hiking. You get the idea. 10-minute moments of activity count and add up. Your 30-minute routine doesn’t have to include 30 consecutive minutes.
My Experience with an Exercise Routine
To be clear, I don’t have all of this figured out. Certain seasons of my life have been better than others. The stage of parenting, my commute to work, the state of my marriage, and intermittent fatigue and pain have certainly made an impact.
I’ve had success going to the gym, using equipment in my basement, taking classes, and walking or running outside. I’ve switched up cardio and weight training. I’ve learned exercise needs to be fun and reasonably challenging.
Without a doubt, exercise is my trusted stress management strategy. When my children were young, my then-husband and I had an unwritten rule that we would make time for one another to exercise in the basement so that each of us could find more patience and energy for our three littles. During my divorce, I renamed a 3-mile route that I walked frequently the “trail of tears.” Life throws me a curveball and I strengthen my commitment to an exercise routine.
Currently, I’m enjoying Pilates and looking forward to more walking outside in better weather. (Soon, I’ll tell you the story about how I chose Pilates based on my Energy Drain Profile Quiz result.)
How to Establish an Exercise Routine
If you don’t have a 30-minute exercise routine, how can you start one without a lot of effort? Experiment with these five steps.
- Identify a type of exercise that you can commit to for three months. (I heard recently walking is the #1 treatment for fatigue.)
- Make a list of all the ways you can add 10-minute exercise moments into your day and choose the ones you’ll try. Think about your workday and weekend schedules. Would some free weights in your office make breaks or lunchtime exercise moments possible? Can you include your family on the weekends?
- What will it take to add these 10-minute exercise moments to your day? How will you protect the time in your schedule? What kind of support or accountability do you need? Do you have a Plan B in case the unexpected arises?
- How will you incorporate these exercise moments with ease? Try having the proper clothes ready and visible. Maybe reward yourself when you reach a benchmark you set. Consider an accountability partner. What can put in place to reduce overthinking about exercise?
- How will you track your experiment? In a notebook? On an app? On a Post-it note placed as a prominent reminder? In addition to frequency, track your energy level, challenges, and breakthroughs. Look for patterns and adjust your routine accordingly.
At the end of the three months, you can expect to feel more energized and confident in your ability to include a 30-minute exercise routine in your daily schedule. You might even want to up-level your game by adding a little more challenge.
No matter what, you will feel 100% sure that your exercise routine benefits your mind, body, and spirit and that you’ve likely decreased the odds of developing health problems.
What I Know for Sure
We all need more movement and less sitting with a screen to ward off a lengthy list of health conditions. I know you’re already stretched thin at home and work. Really, I get it. Focusing on the foundational elements of wellbeing (sleeping, healthy eating with plenty of water, and a 30-minute exercise routine), however, yields a life-sustaining investment in ourselves.
As Nike would say … Just do it. Do it alone or with coworkers, friends, family, or an accountability partner. It’s hard to show up as the best version of yourself if you’re run down and overwhelmed. Prioritize your self-care as a gift to yourself and those you love.