With all the cold, wet winter in much of the US, it's challenging to keep moving and fit in those 30-60 minutes of physical activity that help prevent cancer and other chronic diseases.
If you’re struggling to keep active now – or any time – there are concrete steps you can take. Exercise physiologist Mary Kennedy recently shared helpful tips and strategies to fit in physical activity indoors with our New American Challengers in an online chat.
Use these five top tips to help you get motivated, get started and keep it up:
1. Motivation: Every single step you do makes a difference.
That may be all you need to get motivated. It’s not about how many or how long, it’s about starting with a few steps instead of sitting. Watching TV? Set an alarm for every 30 minutes to stand up and move. Try doing 10 reps of a resistance band exercise, walking up and down the stairs or doing 10 jumping jacks.
2. Set concrete, do-able goals: Try to take 100 steps every hour.
Even if you don’t have a pedometer, you can count to 100 – you’ll be surprised how quickly you can do that. Then challenge yourself to do 10 of those steps on the stairway. Do your activity in small bites – 5 minutes here, 10 minutes there – pretty soon, you’re up to 30 minutes!
3. Make it fun: Find activities you enjoy and keep it simple.
Put on music and dance for a few minutes – nobody is watching. Try a hula hoop or jumping rope. Do house-walking – see how many laps you can do. You can also try exercise bands using AICR’s videos to help you get started.
4. Challenge yourself: When you’re ready, take it up a notch
Moving a little faster or harder can help increase your fitness and boost your health even more. Moderate intensity should be around a 4 on a scale of 1-10. 10 is the hardest thing you’ve ever done, 1 is napping on the couch. A 4 feels like work, but not overwhelming. To make it more intense, move up to a 5 if you are able.
5. Do the best indoor activity there is.
The best activity is the one that you will actually do! Keeping yourself engaged and moving is key. Try lots of different things and see what’s motivating.