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“Get 30 to 60 minutes of moderate exercise every day.”


This recommendation is passed from health care providers to their patients all the time. But it can be pretty hard to achieve. It’s not that we aren’t interested in being more fit. It’s just that life sometimes gets in the way. And when you hear seemingly impossible recommendations from your doctor, it can be discouraging. You already know if you’re going to be able to follow this advice, even before you leave the examination room. And if you can’t, you might feel like you’ve been set up to fail.

But why not think about it differently? Rather than trying to achieve a rigid set of recommendations given to everyone, let’s personalize it and think of a few things that you can do to be more active today.

Here’s a few that I’ve been working on:

1. Taking the stairs: Every day I have a choice. I can take the elevator to my office on the fourth floor, or I can take the stairs. Taking stairs will burn calories, get your heart pumping, and will actually wake you up!

2. Parking at the first spot available: I used to circle the parking lot looking for the most convenient spot. But now I park further away. Just a few minutes each way adds up — to and from the office, the mall, or the grocery store.

3. Warming up: Remember the push-ups, sit-ups, and jumping jacks you used to do in grade school? They still work. You can burn a few dozen calories in the time it takes for a commercial break. Push-ups will help strengthen your back and your abs in addition to your arms. In many ways I think they’re a perfect exercise for building muscle mass and increasing your metabolism.

So what works for you?