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5 Simple Ways to Work Exercise into Your Life

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Everyone seems to know that they should exercise. That exercise is good for them. When you’re in shape you not only feel and look better, but you reduce your risk for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and dying before your time. And if you have chronic conditions, exercise makes many of them better.

And if you say you don’t have time to exercise, that’s probably not true. I always told my patients to move their bodies and break a sweat for at least 20 minutes a day. If you take a look at your schedule and cut out what isn’t absolutely necessary, you’ll probably find an extra 20 minutes.

To get started, change the way you think about exercise. You don’t have to go to the gym or carve large chunks of time out of your day. Between exercise apps and videos and the things you already have in your house (stairs, floor space to do squats and jog in place), your office (stairs, the block around your building) and your neighborhood (we love speed walking the hills around our ‘hood), you can get in 20 minutes of movement.

Here’s the inescapable truth: no matter what you want to accomplish in your life—growing a business, getting ahead at work, being an amazing life partner and parent, coaching your kids’ sports teams—you will always do better, and enjoy it more, when you are as alert and healthy as possible. Besides strengthening our immune systems so we get sick less often, exercise can improve our mood and help us be more engaging and energized when we have conversations with others. As Romi has said, “Exercise is my Prozac.” Trust me, you’ll feel better and perform better if you move your booty. Plus, when you’re healthier and stronger the sex is better, too.

Here are five simple things you can do to change your state without leaving your office building or home office. And if you’re not sure how to do any of these, not to worry. Do a quick search on YouTube for instructional videos.

  1. Take a stand. If you’re sitting, stand up. Working standing up can burn more calories and strengthen your leg and core muscles. And anything you can do while walking around, do it. I always walk around on business calls unless I have to be closely looking at a document.
  2. Take a seat. If you’ve got a chair you can work your arms. Grab the arms of the chair or put the palms of your hand on the edge of the seat and do some dips. This will work your triceps and biceps and a little of your core. If your chair is on rollers, obviously lock those babies down.
  3. Hit the floor. There are a few fantastic exercises you can do with just a little bit of floor space that will work your arms, abs, and back. Do a setup push-ups, then plank for 30 to 60 seconds, followed by laying on your back and flying like Super Man for another 30-60 seconds. This combination will work your arms and abs.
  4. Cop a squat. Put your feet shoulder width apart and squat down, then stand back up. Do it enough times and you’ll feel it in your legs and core.
  5. Go up to come down. If you’ve got stairs you can work your legs and get in some good cardio by briskly walking up and down the stairs ten times. And if you don’t have stairs, not to worry, you can do some additional squats.

You don’t have to do this all at once. These can all be done in increments of 3 minutes or less. Now surely you’ve got 3 minutes a few times a day, don’t you? Just like in business or with any project, when you break up your exercise into bite-size pieces it makes it easier to do. No need to get in the car and drive somewhere to sweat. No need stop working for long stretches of time to work out. And all of these short exercises increase your circulation and send more nutrient-rich blood to your brain, making you more alert and engaged.

If you have a larger chunk of time you want to dedicate to exercise, say 20 minutes, there are some great ways to use that time. Take a brisk walk. Add some stair climbing to your walk for an even more challenging workout. Twenty minutes of yoga can work your brain and body at the same time. And if you’re new to yoga, no problem. Check out the myriad of apps or Amazon Prime where there are on-demand yoga classes for any level and style. Research shows that you don’t have to do all 20 minutes at once to get the health benefits. You could even break it out into two 10-minute blocks if that fits better into your schedule.

Humans were built to move, and if you want to create the best You possible, you have to get moving. If you have a vision of yourself as healthy and active, you have to consistently put in the effort to take your vision and make it something that will sustain you. But focusing only on whether you’ve checked everything off your To Do list for the day for your work, your kids, your house, your spouse, misses the most important priority: Your Physical Health. Fitting exercise into your day is non-negotiable. Start from that perspective, make movement part of your routine and day and experience how your improved energy and mood will energize your life, profession, business and all your relationships.

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