Have you already given up your New Year’s Resolution to exercise more? If you have, you’re not alone. Almost two-thirds of people give up on their New Year’s goals within a month.
Long-term fitness habits must be reasonable and sustainable. The best way to incorporate exercise into your day is to commit to a few minutes of strength exercises each day.
The frequency of exercise can improve muscle strength
According to a study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, people can improve muscle strength with just a single muscle contraction five days per week. Another study in the same journal found small amounts of exercise throughout the week produced better results than one extended workout, even if the overall duration of physical activity was the same.
The research team instructed participants to do 30 arm curls weekly for four weeks. One group did 30 curls once weekly, and another did six curls five days weekly. The group that did all the curls in one day did not increase their muscle strength, but the group that spread out their exercises improved muscle strength by 10 percent.
Exercise prevents chronic disease
Skeletal muscle tissue declines as we age, which affects our independence and function. A sedentary lifestyle increases the risk for many chronic conditions:
- Heart disease
Make daily activities into exercise
Experts suggest adults get 150 minutes of moderate exercise every week. Unfortunately, if you work a full-time job, finding time to be physically active can be challenging. Here are some easy ways to incorporate exercise at work:
- Take the stairs. Instead of waiting for the elevator, take the stairs. You can build leg muscle and increase your heart rate at the same time.
- Take a walk during lunch. Use your lunch hour to take a walk outside. In addition to the benefits of increased muscle mass, you will get a daily dose of vitamin D that will boost your mood.
- Do eccentric activities in your office. “Eccentric” movements lengthen and activate muscles in the body, and they can lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Everyone sits down on a chair daily. By sitting down slowly in your chair, you will do at least 10 eccentric contractions that extend the knee joint.
- Use a headset. Instead of sitting during a conference call, you can move around your office or down the hallway using a headset or headphones.
- Keep weights at your desk. Purchase a set of hand weights that you can keep under your desk. Take breaks throughout the day and do some biceps curls, lateral raises or triceps kickbacks.
- Purchase an exercise ball and use it for stretching. Take breaks throughout the day and sit on the exercise ball to build core strength.
Talk to your doctor before beginning a new exercise routine
Are you motivated to make small steps to bring about a change in your health? Before starting a new exercise regimen, talk to your doctor for recommendations and suggestions. Your doctor can customize your workouts to prevent injury or joint pain.