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Exercise for the Time-Impaired

Exercise for the Time-Impaired

The current exercise guidelines adopted by the US surgeon general and the American Heart Association (AHA) recommend at least 30 minutes of moderate activity each day, most days of the week (at least 4, preferably 6 to 7). Studies have shown that this is enough to reap noticeable health benefits. While we’re all busy and our time is precious, exercise shouldn’t be last on our list of priorities. And it doesn’t have to be. Thankfully, doing three to four bursts of 8-10 minutes of activity seems to provide the same effects as 30 continuous minutes. So if you can’t find a half-hour chunk of time, there’s still hope.

The following 10-minute activities will help you add moderate exercise into your routine without having to spend hours at the gym.

At home:

1. Do jumping jacks or jump rope before getting in the shower in the morning.

2. Jog in place.

At work:

3. Pump your arms in biceps curls while you briskly walk the halls of your office building, or take it outside, and walk around the block.

4. Walk or run the stairs.

While you’re out:

5. Park at the end of the mall farthest from the store you’re going to and, once inside, speed walk the length of the mall a couple of times before getting your shopping done. When you’re finished, take one more lap.

6. Push your empty cart quickly around the periphery of the grocery store and then up and down each aisle. Do your shopping and then repeat, this time with the resistance of a full cart.

Remember that the health benefits of exercise come from increasing the amount of oxygen in your blood stream and the only way to do this is to increase your heart rate. So make sure to complete these activities at a speed or effort that gets that heart going. But whatever activities you choose to do, have fun. Make exercise a regular part of your schedule and stick with it.

You won’t be sorry that you used some of that precious time to improve your fitness. And you’ll likely find that the rest of your time is more productive because you’ve gained focus and energy. The fitter you become, the easier you’ll handle any situation you face and the better prepared you’ll be to serve God at all times.

Exercise improves health. It can help you lose weight, strengthen your muscles and decrease your risk for a number of illnesses including heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and osteoporosis. Maybe you’ve heard all this before, but regular physical activity can also provide a number of immediate and long-term benefits we don’t normally think about. It turns out that regular exercise at a moderate level can improve mood and decrease anxiety, making us more pleasant to be around. It also helps us to increase our mental focus and memory, allowing us to be more productive and efficient in completing our daily work. In addition, it improves the quality of our sleep.

Need more motivation to get off that couch? New studies show that regular physical activity may decrease your risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s later in life.

Researchers aren’t the only ones suggesting we take better care of our bodies, though. God’s word clearly tells us that caring for our bodies is important. Our bodies are His temple. They are gifts he has given us, and we are meant to be good stewards of them, keeping them in the best condition possible during our time on this earth. Does this mean that we should focus all of our attention and effort on attaining the ideals we see in the movies and on the covers of magazines? No. Should we spend more time exercising than in God’s word? Again, no. But we certainly need to put some effort into making sure that we are at our fittest—not just spiritually and mentally but also physically —when God calls us. Will he use us if we’re overweight or if we eat junk food at every meal? Of course He will, because we are all imperfect and are made perfect only through Him. But how much better could we serve Him and others if we were healthier and had more energy? So get out there and get moving. You’ll be glad you did.

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