Being Busy Is No Excuse: Get Up and Exercise

By Dr. Diana Hayslip

As a working mother of three daughters aged 7 to 10, I have parental responsibilities after my work day like shuttling kids to activities, preparing meals and housekeeping.

I love watching my children participate in their activities, but cutting exercise out of my schedule is not an option.

The benefits of exercise are many and can lead to improved health and a longer life.

Exercise helps prevent heart disease and other health problems, and it builds strength, improves energy and reduces stress. It also curbs appetite and burns calories.

Despite these advantages, busy families often sacrifice exercise to other priorities, contributing to the spike in obesity rates in the U.S.

I encourage everyone to spend the 30 minutes you normally use watching TV, chatting on social media sites, texting or other electronic activities to take a walk, ride a bike or go swimming.

When starting an exercise routine, remember the basics: Work out three or more times a week for 30 minutes or more each day.

If you need to, exercise 10 minutes, three times a day.

Once you launch an exercise program, you soon will be capable of 45-minute workouts, four to six times a week.

Fitting a regular exercise regimen into your schedule may call for some creativity.

Here are suggestions to help you get started.

  • Exercise during lunch break and while on errands.
  • Exercise with a partner.
  • Schedule exercise appointments into your daily agenda.
  • Purchase proper equipment, especially shoes.
  • Listen to music while you exercise.
  • Make exercise fun. Choose activities you enjoy.
  • Drink lots of water.
  • Find physical fitness activities you can do with your kids.
  • If you must use electronics, buy, rent or borrow a Wii, Xbox or Playstation exercise or dance game.

To avoid injuries, start small and slow. Walking is a safe exercise, and swimming allows you to work out your entire body with low impact on your joints.

As you become more accustomed to exercise, choose higher intensity cardiovascular exercises that will allow you to keep your heart rate up.

If you feel too tired or sore, ease up or take a day off to rest. But don’t give up.