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But Where Will I Find the Time? Creating Activity Bursts in Your Day for a Healthy Body and a Happy Mind

March 2007

Laurel Jacobs, MPH Candidate
Eat Well, Be Well Program Coordinator
University of Arizona Pima County Cooperative Extension

The hardest step of starting a regular physical activity habit is getting started. If you are reading this message, you have already taken the first, and most important step, toward improving your health. Now, it is time to take action!

By March, many well intentioned New Year’s resolutions about improving health and personal finances may be starting to feel a little stale. This month we will focus on the challenges and solutions to incorporating activity into your good health and wealth habits for life.

The new MyPyramid guidelines, which include physical activity as a healthy part nutrition and well being, recommend at least thirty minutes of exercise per day to maintain a healthy weight and moderate fitness levels, 60 minutes per day in order to lose weight, and up to 90 minutes per day to maintain weight loss. For many people, that amount of time each day seems impossible to set aside.

One way to work up towards 30 or more minutes per day of activity is to build small increments of movement into your routine throughout the day. Kick start your daily physical activity routine by trying some of the following small bursts of activity that you can add throughout your day.

• Circle around the block once when you go out to your mailbox
• Walk around the aisles of the grocery store before shopping (this is a great way to compare prices, as well!)
• Instead of using the drive through window, get out of your car and walk into the bank, restaurant, or pharmacy.
• Go for a walk before starting your morning commute to feel energized all day
• Visit the restroom on the far side of the building at work
• Hold meetings while going for a walk
• Designate 10 minutes of your lunch break to a quick walk – work up to 30 minutes or more over time
• Shake off the effects of your evening commute by walking before dinner.

Bonus minutes of activity, sprinkled throughout your day, not only benefit your heart, blood pressure, bones, and muscles, but can help reduce the build up of stress and tension that so many of us accumulate as we rush from task to task.

Remember, every small step toward health and wealth is a valuable one and every new habit supports a healthier lifestyle May your small steps in March bring you closer to your goals of better health and more wealth for life!