“I don’t have time.” This is a major reason Americans say they don’t exercise. Even though people claim to be busier and busier all the time, statistics show that people spend significantly more time sitting on a couch. A Nielsen report released in early 2012 states that the average American over age two spends more than 34 hours a week watching TV. Our televisions, videogames, and smartphones have captivated us.

The good news is that its not too late, choosing to exercise for only 2 percent of your day can have benefits that are truly lifesaving. 2 percent equates to only 30 minutes a day. It doesn’t take much time at all, and we’ve come up with 10 practical ways to help you find the time.

Be an active TV watcher. If you can, purchase a piece of exercise equipment, like a treadmill or stationary bike, that you can use while watching TV. If you want to spend less money, purchase a small BOSU ball that you can utilize as a stepper or simply walk or stretch in your living room.

Rise and shine. Plan to get up just 30 minutes earlier, put on your walking shoes and go for a brisk walk or run. Your dog will most certainly appreciate it, too!

Cut down on media usage. Time yourself to see how much you utilize media (computer, TV, phone, etc.) and then choose to replace just 30 minutes of that time with a physical activity you enjoy.

Post dinner activity. Make it a habit to go on a walk after your evening meal with your family or a friend before you clean the kitchen.

“Cleanersize”. All of us have to complete household chores. So why not turn these must-do activities into physical activity? Turn on some good music and try to exercise your way through the chores, increasing the speed and movement of everything you do.

Utilize your lunch break. Most work places allow lunch breaks between 30 – 60 minutes. Pack your running shoes to work and before eating, go for a walk outside. Start a walking club and get your co-workers involved so you don’t feel lonely.

Get a pedometer. It can be surprising to realize how inactive we really are when we measure our daily activities with steps. Pedometers (or free pedometer apps) can really help increase your daily activity by simply making you are aware of it!

Turn family and friend time into physical activity. For some reason we think that socializing has to be done sitting down around a dinner table, but there are so many other ways that we could learn to be active together. Play an active game in the park, go for a bike ride, play tennis, go bowling or simply walk together.

Change your priorities. See what you can do to combine your “must do’s” with physical activity (you will be amazed what can be done with a bit of creativity). Time for exercise should be high on everyone’s priority list as it impacts every other aspect of life, health and wellbeing.

Find your passion. Everyone will be able to discover physical activities that they love. That’s why it’s important to try many different things and find out what is most enjoyable for you. Research shows that people who find a passion in a particular physical activity are more likely to stick to it long-term.

So make the choice to find 30 minutes of exercise and physical activity in your 24-hour day. It’s only two percent, and it will add years to your life and life to your years


About the Author

Dominique Wakefield MA, CPT

is the Director for University Health & Wellness and Adjunct Faculty in the Department for Public Health, Nutrition & Wellness at Andrews University in Michigan. She is also a Certified Personal Trainer through the American Council on Exercise (ACE) and a Certified Wellness Practitioner through the National Wellness Institute (NWI). In addition to university teaching, Dominique has worked extensively, as a manager and personal trainer, in the health and wellness sector. Dominique is a PhD candidate in Health and her research centers on physical activity, motivation for exercise, and behavior change strategies.

Dominique is a passionate, energetic, and innovative health, wellness, and fitness expert and regularly contributes articles to Life and Health Network and to the American Council on Exercise (ACE). In October 2011, Dominique Wakefield was awarded “Top 11 Personal Trainers to Watch in the U.S.” by Life Fitness and the American Council on Exercise.

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