Busy Schedules Shouldn’t Derail Resolutions to Get Fit

676898654Creative ways to fit in recommended 30 minutes of daily exercise

Thirty minutes of moderate daily physical activity can help a person’s body fight off many cancers and other diseases. Even 15 minutes of daily exercise can increase life expectancy by up to three years, according to recent research.  In response to these findings, experts at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center have advice on some creative ways to incorporate exercise into a full schedule, even if it is in small chunks of time throughout the day.

“You can break your daily workout into three 10-minute or two 15-minute chunks as your schedule allows and still benefit from the activity,” said Karen Basen-Engquist, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Behavioral Science at MD Anderson.

Now is the perfect time to adopt new exercise habits. Each person’s physical ability and personal schedules will determine which of the following exercise examples will work best for them in their daily lives.

1 – 2  Minutes of Exercise:  Take the Stairs

Taking the stairs instead of the elevator gets the heart pumping, builds muscle, strengthens bones and burns calories. Additionally, taking even a one-minute break from sitting may help reduce the risk of cancer.

 5  Minutes of Exercise:  Stretch

People can stretch their back, forearms, wrists, legs and hamstrings without ever leaving their desks. In return, these quick stretches can provide more energy, better circulation and improved flexibility. Because stretching helps relieve muscle tension and stress, which can weaken the immune system, it provides another way to help fight off diseases like cancer.

10-15 Minutes of Exercise: Take a Brisk Walk

A short walk during lunch or a quick trip around the neighborhood is an easy way to raise the heart rate for 10 to 15 minutes. Walking helps to increase metabolism, build stronger bones, relieve stress and lower blood pressure.  “For walking to count as exercise, you should be a little out of breath and feel your heart beating a little faster,” Basen-Engquist said. “You should be able to talk in short sentences, but not sing.”

20 Minutes of Exercise: Tidy up Your Home

Cleaning the house can qualify as aerobic activity.  “Just make sure you’re getting your heart rate up at a consistent level,” Basen-Engquist said. For the best work out, repetitive activities that use large muscle groups, like your legs and back, are best. This includes vacuuming, mopping, scrubbing, gardening and even taking multiple trips up the stairs to put away laundry.

 30 Minutes of Exercise: Pick Your Favorite Routine

A half hour is the perfect amount of time for almost any exercise routine. Spend 30 minutes practicing yoga, jogging, biking or taking a fun, high-energy dance class like Zumba. “The most important thing is to do something you enjoy,” Basen-Engquist said. “That way,

you won’t be counting the minutes until your workout ends.”


For additional tips on health and exercise, visit www.mdanderson.org/focused.  To learn more about the MD Anderson Regional Care Center in Sugar Land, visit www.mdanderson.org/sugarland.