Simple solution: move more for a long life

We all know regular exercise is good for us, but why is it so hard to stick with a routine? These tips will help you make fitness a part of your lifestyle so you can reap the health benefits of keeping active.

Simple solution: move more for a long life

If you follow what trainers and experts tell you, a well-rounded fitness regimen would have you actively engaged in some type of formal exercise for an hour a day six or seven days a week. A lot of effort, a lot of time, but not unreasonable if you want to be truly fit for a long life. But what of the other 15 hours a day that you're awake?

When you think about it, it's thoroughly illogical to believe that the optimal fitness schedule is "one hour on, 15 hours off." Sure, thinking that way helps sell gym memberships and lots of fancy fitness gear. But the truth is, fitness is best thought of as a lifestyle, not as a task.

Every moment of your day, every task you do, is an opportunity to move in ways that help your health. When you think of fitness as a lifestyle, it means you walk a little faster, stand a little taller, stay outside a little longer, do tasks a little more intensely. It means you bypass the easy or lazy options and instead take the steps, fetch the item from the garage yourself, and take care of that fallen branch or broken step right now, by yourself.

When fitness becomes a lifestyle, it means that you are naturally walking more each day, so you don't have to formally schedule it, get dressed for it, and recover from it. It means that you are naturally stretching your muscles, using your strength, and challenging your sense of balance. It means that not a half hour goes by when you haven't done some small thing with a little more exertion as a matter of habit.

And does this kind of living pay off! More energized living burns calories, strengthens muscles, builds endurance, improves your mood, and makes you sleep more deeply. Science proves it, and living it quickly reveals it.So how do you start living a fitter lifestyle? Again, it's all in the choices. Here are some simple life rules to start.

  • Always take the steps if you are going up or down two or fewer flights of stairs.
  • Always walk a little faster.
  • Always stand when talking on the phone.
  • Always get up and move when TV commercials come on.
  • Always get the mail, take out the garbage, walk the dog, and pick up the newspaper yourself.
  • Always strive to be outdoors more (it's virtually impossible not to be more active outside than inside).
  • Always get up and move after 30 minutes of sitting.

These are all easy to do, and the benefits will be enormous! Can you add to the list? Does living the fit lifestyle mean you can stop thinking about exercise? No. Active living will do a great job of keeping you slim and maintaining your body's current physical condition. But remember the definition of exercise — using your body in ways that go beyond normal exertion levels. Only by mixing in a some formal exercise can you improve strength, endurance, flexibility, and balance.

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