• Dr. Natasha Ryan

Get Fit At Home Or Wherever You Are.

Integrating physical fitness and wellness into your life consistently can sometimes be a challenge. You may feel that if you don't get to the gym or the pool to swim laps that you have failed to exercise in the classic sense of the word. I'd like to challenge the notion that you have to go somewhere to be active and fit.

First let's define fitness. Fitness is the ability to function efficiently and effectively without injury. There are nine components to fitness strength, power, agility, balance, flexibility, coordination, cardiovascular endurance and muscle endurance. Many studies have shown that people who consistently get exercise have lower risk factors related to diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and cancer. The good news is you can engage in activities both at home and at work that will enhance all aspects of fitness.

Here are some tips on finding fitness and wellness where you are.

1. Walking – This is hand's down my favorite form of exercise. Think about it. Walking is probably the most natural form of activity available to human beings. Most babies get that urge to stand up and walk just about the time they are going to turn one year old. Studies show that taking a brisk walk for 30 minutes a day can help improve your sleep, decrease pain and increase your sense of well being. Another thing to note is that the 30-minute time frame can be broken up into smaller segments. So if you can spare just ten minutes while at work, take a lap around the block. You'll be glad you did.

2. Pushups – Yes, push ups are one of those “old school” forms of exercise, but they are extremely effective at building strength, which is an important component of fitness. The stronger you are the less prone to injury you will be and there is also a correlation between how much muscle mass you have and how strong you will be. Your muscles not only hold your skeletal system in place, but when consistently engaged they help burn calories more efficiently thereby keeping you leaner.

3. Stretching – As mentioned earlier, being flexible is a part of being fit, so it is important to engage in simple stretching exercises that will decrease tightness in your back, neck, legs and more. You'd be surprised how many of your activities of daily living require flexibility. For example, if you drop something on the floor, you want to be flexible enough to be able to bend down and pick it up. For some specific stretching routines, you can check out YouTube or just Google stretching exercises for ideas.

4. Jumping Jacks – If you have no issues with your knees or back, this exercise can help you burn calories and increase energy. Start with 25 in the morning when you wake up and you'll be surprised how invigorated you feel through out the rest of the day.

5. Yoga-Yoga is one of my favorite excercises because it combines physical fitness with stress reduction. There are lots of studies showing that doing yoga is helpful in improving blood pressure, headaches, back/neck pain and more. If you are interested in giving it a trial, check out lots of free videos on Youtube or at your local library.

Remember, fitness is right where you are. Don't use not being able to go to the gym as an excuse. Create a movement plan based on your physical abilities and get going!

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