Editors note: “A Better Life” is a weekly column by the USU Extension – Tooele Office that focuses on a variety of topics intended to enhance quality of life.
One of the most common excuses for not exercising is time. With jobs, families, after school activities, summer sports and other responsibilities, finding the time is no easy task. It seems like everything you do takes time away from something else that you need to do. Managing it all often leaves self-care, like exercise, on the back burner.
Exercise may not seem like a priority at certain times in your life. However, it is a priority when it comes to creating better health. Do you know that small bouts of exercise throughout the week are just as beneficial as bigger ones? If finding time to exercise is difficult for you, consider breaking it up throughout your day and throughout the week. It is recommended that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week. The best way to tackle this task is to schedule it. Treat exercise just like you would treat any other appointment. Write it on your calendar, in your planner, or schedule it on your phone. When the scheduled time has come, do it!
To help you get started, consider these tips:
• 10-minute mini-workouts: Try taking 10 minutes in the morning, afternoon, and evening to do some form of activity. This can include 10 minutes of body weight exercises (push-ups, crunches, lunges, squats, etc.) in the morning, a 10-minute brisk walk during your lunch break at work, and 10 minutes of yoga-inspired stretching in the evening. When binge watching Netflix, get up and move for 10 minutes after every episode!
• Involve the family in daily fitness: Thirty minutes will fly by if you get the kids engaged in something that they, too, can enjoy. Grab the family and head out for a walk, game of tag, or for a bike ride. My favorite way to sneak in a little extra exercise is to park farther away from the store you need to shop at. Others may like to walk to and from the free summer lunch programs available each weekday.
• Clean with purpose: Don’t just sweep the floor, scrub the floor. Don’t just unload the dishwasher, dance with the dishes. Minutes add up fast when you move more during your clean-up time. Consider throwing in a round of body weight exercises after completing each task or cleaning each room. Soup from the pantry that needs organizing makes a perfect weight.
• Look for opportunities to walk: Suggest work meetings on the go. Moving can actually improve creativity and communication. Find any opportunity you can while at work to walk and work at the same time. You’ll be surprised how many steps it can add to your day. Often meetings are scheduled around meals. What if you scheduled those meetings around a walk instead? Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk to the farther bathroom.
If finding time to exercise has been difficult for you, cast all your excuses aside. Incorporate 10 short minutes of movement here and there throughout your day to get yourself moving. It is as simple as that — just 10 minutes at a time.
To keep the momentum of creating better health going, try this Thai Noodle Salad as an awesome lunch option or a healthy side dish at dinner.
Thai Noodle Salad
16 ounces whole-wheat spaghetti (cooked and cooled)
1/3 cup rice vinegar or red wine vinegar
4 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce or tamari (tamari is gluten free)
4 tablespoons lime juice
4 tablespoons sugar or honey
2 teaspoons minced garlic
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 (15 ounce) can of garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas, drained and rinsed)
¾ cup shredded carrots
2 green onions, finely sliced
1 red bell pepper, finely diced or julienned
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
½ cup chopped peanuts (optional)
½ cup chopped cilantro
Place noodles in a large bowl. In a small bowl combine vinegar, soy sauce, lime juice, sugar, garlic, red pepper and sesame oil. Stir to combine and dissolve the sugar. Pour dressing over the noodles. Add beans, carrots, onions, bell pepper and peas. Toss the noodles and veggies together and to coat with the dressing. Sprinkle peanuts and cilantro on top just before serving.
You can eat this alone or on top of a bed of fresh chopped lettuce. Make this for dinner and then take leftovers for lunch. It’s even better the next day!
Yield: 4 servings
Sarah Patino is the Certified Nutrition Educator for Food Sense at the USU Extension – Tooele County office, which is located inside the Tooele County Health Department Building, 151 N. Main, Tooele. She can be reached at 435-277-2408 and at firstname.lastname@example.org.