Living an active lifestyle is a common goal, but fitting it into your daily schedule can be challenging. If you don’t have an active occupation to begin with, long commutes, sedentary desk work, and packed social schedules can make it difficult to find the time. Even in the midst of the COVID pandemic, working from home can blur the lines between on and offline hours. We’re here to encourage you to prioritize activity. It doesn’t have to be strenuous or a two–hour sweat sesh – anything is better than nothing. So let’s start where you are.
Before drilling down into best practices, let’s talk about allll of the health benefits that are a result of consistent movement. And there are many:
One of the first steps to getting active is optimizing your time. Many of our excuses for avoiding regular exercise revolve around busy schedules and time constraints – not to mention exhaustion at the end of it all. We get it. Life is busy, but your health is worth prioritizing. A helpful method to set limits on your time is by following the 3×8 rule: 8 hours of work, 8 hours of “you” time, and 8 hours of sleeping. Of course, your “you” time is further broken down into familial and household responsibilities, but protect part of this time for just you.
Now that you have a little bit of “you” time, let’s look at some methods for incorporating activity into your day to day:
1.Make it fun. If you hate running, don’t go for a run. Walking is always a good go-to; throw on your favorite podcast, call a friend, or listen to music to really Zen out. You can also join a live online class where you can connect with others, or partner with friends to hit workout goals (did you know you can add friends to your wellness team in the Lively Health app?). Maybe dancing or Zumba is more your jam – join a gym, watch a YouTube video, or make it up as you go along!
2. Local options. What is nearby that will get you moving? Gyms will always be an all-inclusive option, but don’t stop there. Are there any walking paths or hiking trails around you? Is there a community pool where you can swim laps? Even hyperlocal options are on the table: turn vacuuming the house into a workout. Take breaks from sitting to walk around the yard or do some quick circuits up
3. Make it social. Include friends, family, or neighbors to make it fun and keep you accountable. Start a weekly hiking club or meet for yoga in the park. Have everyone meet at a destination that is a mile or two from your favorite smoothie shop, then enjoy your healthy treat once you arrive. Join a cycling group or plan weeknight jogs with a friend.
4. Make it in your face. Get some workout equipment and put it in a prominent place in the house. You don’t need to buy a Peloton bike – get some resistance bands, one pair of dumbbells, a door-jam pull up bar, or a yoga mat to get started!
5. Make it an adventure. You know what gets you moving? Travel. Discover a new city and walk downtown, or investigate a new park. Check out a beach or lake you’ve never been to, or find an Airbnb that is near an attraction you’ve always wanted to visit.
6. Start early. This may not be the answer for everyone, but an early start makes it easier to fit activity into your day. Whether this means starting work a half hour earlier than normal or going for a morning walk before clocking in, an early start makes all the difference for your available time and energy.
It’s easy to neglect living an active lifestyle. We know that you’re busy simultaneously balancing seven “top priorities,” but investing in your health with daily activity is an achievable goal that hugely pays off in the future. Take control of your health with implementable activities that jive well with your lifestyle. Make it enjoyable, make it accessible, make it a habit. Then step back and reap the benefits of optimized health now and into your later years.