Can You Dedicate Three Hours a Week to Physical Activity?

Can You Dedicate Three Hours a Week to Physical Activity?
Can You Dedicate Three Hours a Week to Physical Activity?
Original image from Pexels

As I continue writing my No Excuses Fitness book, my goal on this blog is to post an article about fitness at least once a month.

Over 4 years ago I wrote an article about how much time we all need to dedicate to being physically active. This is an update to that post.

Did you know that there are 168 hours in a week? Go ahead, count them. Seems like a lot.

To briefly summarize, within this 168 hours, 40 hours are used for work, school or your vocation. This is for an average person. Sleeping uses up 56 hours in a week, which equals 8 hours per night, if we are lucky. What is left over is 72 hours a week for personal care which includes leisure time.

Your challenge is to find three hours a week for physical activity. Out of 168 hours in a week, three hours should be do-able. I created this info-graphic to show how the hours are broken down.

Can You Dedicate Three Hours a Week to Physical Activity?

Can You Dedicate Three Hours a Week to Physical Activity?

Let’s tackle this step-by-step.

Step 1: Assess your health. Are you overweight? Are you unable to exercise due to a medical condition or disability? Do you simply need more motivation to be physically active?

Step 2: Identify barriers preventing you from exercising. Some of these barriers include geographical, environmental and structural.

Geographical barriers can be where you work in relation to where you live. Do you have a long commute to and from work? This can eat into your personal care time. Do you live in a part of the country with extreme weather conditions that may prevent you from simply walking outdoors? If your workplace does not have amenities like a gym or area for exercise, this can be a big deterrent to finding time for physical activity.

Environmental barriers include poor access to parks or other leisure spaces in your community. Perhaps there are very few places to safely ride a bicycle near where you live. If you live in an urban environment, walking may be a great exercise option, but that can be hampered by weather, crowds, events, and other deterrents.

Structural barriers to physical activity can be money, transportation, clothing and equipment, or even the skills to participate in an activity.

Lack of time is the ultimate structural barrier.

Step 3: Assess your interests. Simply put, what do you like to do? What were some fun activities you enjoyed as a young person? Are you interested in trying these activities again as an adult? Once you identify your interest, are there barriers getting in your way? This is where many folks talk themselves out of trying something new.

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Step 4: Take action. Now that you have chosen your ideal fitness activity, let’s say “walking”, how will you do this? What time of day works best for you? Can you walk on your lunch break at work? Can you devote 30 minutes, 6 days a week (equals three hours) to walking? If not, how about one hour per day, three days per week? Thirty minutes per day is the minimum time for optimum cardiovascular fitness.

And yes, you can break up the 30 minutes into smaller increments during the day. Other action steps include taking the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator. While at work, walk the long way around to the break room or to a meeting. Even adding a few extra steps can add up to small time increments getting added in to your fitness time.

day planner

I work on my university campus two days a week. For my night class, I purposely park close to where the classroom is, so when I finish, I can walk safely to my car. But this means I have to walk at least 10 minutes to get to the building where my office is located. From the parking lot to the office and back to the classroom is at least 20 minutes broken up into 10. And I take the 4 flights up the stairs on days I’m not lugging my rolling cart.

Step 5: Mix up your routine once you take action. Add a few more minutes to your current workout. Try cross training. This can be as simple as trying a new exercise or activity. If you belong to a gym, try a spin class, zumba or boot camp. Adding a completely new and different type of workout exercises new muscles and can invigorate your fitness routine. If gyms are not your thing, check into your local recreation center for exercise or active leisure classes.

Now that I am staring 60 in the face, I also recognize the value of strength training. Even just 20-30 minutes, two days a week of light weights can help strengthen your bones and muscles.

Woman lifting barbell

Step 6: Sustainability. Now that you have created an exercise routine, is it sustainable? If you get bored easily, examine why you are bored. For example, if you walk your dog through the same neighborhood day after day, it can get dull. Perhaps you can walk with a friend.

I started walking weekly with a friend from the gym who is also my hair stylist. We walk for no less than one hour exploring nearby neighborhoods and she graciously walks with one of my two dogs.

Joining structured fitness classes with regular attendees and instructors can also be an incentive.

women lifting weights

If the weather is uncooperative, take a walk in the nearest shopping mall (leave your $ and credit cards at home). Perhaps your community has a walking club associated with the neighborhood recreation center. Exercising with others is a good way to stay accountable and not give up. Plus, it’s FUN!

man and woman pushing stroller

And finally, take a good look at your time. How valuable is your health compared to the time you have left in the day? We easily get caught up in the hectic pace of life and allow our three hours of physical activity to be used up in other ways. Work and family obligations are tough to overcome.

Creating a simple daily schedule for your fitness time should be as high a priority as work and family. If you are unwell, you will not be able to work, or take care of your family.

See more of what other folks are doing for their fitness and health!

Janet Mary Cobb A2Z Holistic Self-care: A is for Ask

Sue’s Sizzling Toward Sixty and Beyond Active April

In our busy world, I encourage you to use your time wisely and claim your three hours a week for physical activity!

© Infographic and content copyright-protected. Some images provided by Unsplash

Winter Solstice Moon

Moon shot

Today is the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. This year, the solstice arrives one day before the full moon.

I couldn’t resist posting my full moon shot for Becky B’s December Squares Challenge! Click on the link for her round-up of posts.

Moon shot

Friday also marks the astronomical beginning of winter, even though meteorologists and climatologists view winter as starting Dec. 1, which is the start of the coldest three months in the Northern Hemisphere. After the solstice, the days slowly start to get longer again. USA Today

I admit to using this same moon photo in a previous Sunday Stills post for Bucket List Images. It’s been too cloudy for moon shots lately. May as well make those rare images work a little harder!

 

It’s #Time for Sunday Stills!

time for fitness

Oh boy, we are going to have a great time with the theme of TIME this week! A vague concept chosen on purpose with multiple meanings for everyone.

Time for Fitness

exercise equipment

Do you allow time for fitness daily, weekly monthly, or…? I schedule it on my outlook calendar but I guilt myself into exercise enough that I don’t need a reminder. Although this image doesn’t scream “time,” I suppose the exercise balls represent the cyclical nature of time.

Daylight Saving Time

Finding Serenity in a Desert SunriseHere in California, Daylight Saving time ended today. It will be lighter in the mornings (instead of dark until 7:30am here in Northern Cal), but dark by 5pm. Many folks hate the end of daylight saving time, but I prefer my mornings lighter! It’s almost winter, it’s supposed to be dark in the evening!
Ironically Californians vote on whether to make DST permanent beginning next year. Many states and countries do not recognize it any way.

How Time Flies!

wordpress logoI was notified by WordPress of my 7-year blogging anniversary on October 31, 2011. Seems like forever, but I didn’t start consistently blogging until September 2014. Image provided by WordPress.

Another image denoting the passage of time in the form of temperature and seasons.

Image (2) clocknumbers-793x1024.jpg for post 5080

Time for Change

Speaking of time, there are some changes coming to the Sunday Stills challenge.
Beginning January 1, I am discontinuing my InLinkz account for the link-up. Not all bloggers use the link-up, and I pay a small monthly fee to use the service. You can still link up through December 23. Let me know your thoughts on this.

I have not yet published the December dates, but due to extensive travel in late December and into January, there will be no challenge for Dec 30.

Because of this travel time, I’m also looking for a temporary host for the month of January. Since we will be on the road for 2-3 weeks, I’m betting Internet connection will be sporadic, and honestly, I could use a little break from the computer screen.

Please PM me (see menu About Me/Contact) and let me know if you would like to host for one week or 3-4 weeks. I can provide more details with you. I will have the themes chosen and announced on my page in advance, and also short posts from my blog pointing to whomever will co-host. This also can be shared with 2-3 folks.

If no one is interested, we will just take that month off from the challenge.

Welcome 15 New Bloggers to October Sunday Stills Challenge!

A Young Retirement

Venezia E Il Veneto

Sharon’s Blog

Once Upon a Time and Happily Ever After

Donna Maria

Bend Branches

Over 50 Travel Blog

Musings from the Cold

River Valley Wanderer

Lady Lee Manila

Jodie’s Touch of Style

Deb’s World

Quaint Revival

Dandelion Fuzz

Frost on the Moose Dung

I am so happy you could join us today and all this week with your images, stories, poems, or anything that denotes the theme of TIME!

Link up here and/or ping-back to this post. Use the tag time or #Sunday Stills when you publish and share!

Autumn SIGNature

 

Wishing for More Time with Elderly Loved Ones

Spending time with our precious family

I recently led a discussion with my university students on the subject of aging and leisure and the physical and mental effects of aging on our bodies and on our society. When we age, of course our bodies naturally slow down.

My students took a short, online assessment “How Long Will I Live?”  and had to write their reaction to the number provided. (Click to take the test–it’s free and interesting).

Some students were afraid to see what that number might be, hesitant to face their mortality. Others saw it as a wake-up call to become more healthy while still young. Most got a number between 77-94 years of age.

When I read the theme of the Weekly Photo Challenge, Wish, I knew I had to share something about our wishes for good health and a long life.

Our allotted 80-ish years on this planet are fleeting and should never be squandered. With that said, sadly we take our own time for granted, then gradually lose touch with our elderly loved ones. The lovely ladies in the above photo are all in their 80s, with two of them not in the best of health.

This quote spoke to me:

Spend time with those you love. One of these days you will say either, “I wish I had,” or “I’m glad I did.” Zig Ziglar

In the photo below, my father is hiking Mammoth Lakes with his brand new trekking poles…on his 80th birthday! It took a lot of coordinating with the family to surprise him with this trip. My dad and mom took us to Yosemite as young children and forever planted the love of the outdoors within our hearts. This was a tough hike, he admitted later, but you would never had known that day.

80-year old dad hiking on his birthday in Mammoth Lakes
Dad loved his trekking poles he got for his 80th birthday!

Here is a photo of my mom, who at age 76, continues to reside in a convalescent home because she cannot care for herself. In this picture, nine years ago, she was able to use her walker and stroll along her beloved San Diego beaches.

My mom is healthier days when she could walk with her walker near her beloved beaches.
Mom and me in San Diego at Thanksgiving, 2008.

In this photo below is my spunky, Auntie Kim, who began life as a Korean orphan. Now in her early 80s, she is still going strong! She lives near her oldest daughter, my cousin.

Auntie and Me
Auntie and Me in Oregon.

Oh, how I wish I could spend more time with these precious ones. My aunties and mother-in-law live in the Pacific Northwest, my mother in San Diego. At least my father lives within a two-hour drive. Sometimes distance limits our time together.

Mortality surely limits our time together.

But we can still wish.

Make the best of your time with your loved ones before that time runs out. It will, no matter how much you wish it differently.

 

What Lies Beneath the Gap?

Gaps in Pacific Beach Pier yields a wondrous view

Gaps in Pacific Beach Pier yields a wondrous view

When walking, do you ever look down? Most of us look ahead to see where we are going, especially if we are sight-seeing. On a recent trip in San Diego, we strolled along Crystal Pier in Pacific Beach. Something sea-green caught my eye as I looked down through the gaps in the planking, and saw this sight. With the low tide and the light, the ocean was really this green!

As I rolled this idea of “gap” around in my mind, I admit that I have left some gaps in my blogging of late. March has been a busy month and my blogging has suffered. I have managed to continue with two posts each week and one of those is a photo challenge. The writing is slow to come forth. I was sick for almost two week, then our wi-fi was intermittent. Even with Spring Break, I still had to prepare lectures for the following week since we visited Yosemite for Easter weekend. My step-son is here so we have been enjoying a lot of leisure time! I shouldn’t complain, but these weeks have really flown by.

April proves to be another busy month as we begin the process of moving our trailer into our windsurf camp at the delta. I also have the distinct pleasure of participating in the Bloggers at Midlife Conference in Las Vegas in mid-April. I hope to draw more inspiration about writing and blogging and meet some amazing bloggers.


This photo is submitted for  “Gap”-Week 19 of the weekly photo challenge sponsored by Hugh’s Views and News. And thank you, Hugh, for hosting my blog all month on your sidebar as your featured blogger!

 

Game Time!

Time for a game of boggle.

Got time for a game? Our leisure time should include games! Have you ever played Boggle? It is a fast-paced word game where players pick out words working against the clock. When my daughters were much younger and my mom was still able to travel, we would gather around the dining table and play several rounds of Boggle. Such a fun game, no wonder I like words!

Time for a game of boggle.

 

“Games” is the theme for Hughes Weekly Photo Challenge.  Because of Boggle’s requirement for using an hourglass to keep time for each round, I couldn’t resist adding this to the Weekly photo challenge: Time

Can you find some words in this photo? There are quite a few! The letters must touch each other going in any direction and cannot repeat. Share your answers in the comments!

Now…go play some games!

 

Weekend Coffee Share: Autumn Edition

Autumn leaf on wood shows it's splendor

Autumn leaf on wood shows it's splendor

If we were having coffee, after a fun week of reading Halloween-themed blogs and posting a few of my own, I would tell you that it is nice to finally get into autumn mode.

If we were having coffee I would offer you a wonderful pumpkin-spice flavored coffee, I found at Trader Joe’s. I add just a couple of scoops to my regular Colombian roast and it is perfect. Fall-weekend-coffee-shareWould you like a dollop of Bailey’s Pumpkin Spice creamer to mellow it out? Autumn heaven in a cup!

It is daylight savings time here in the states. We get to “fall behind!” Woohoo! I got an extra hour of sleep last night! It will be nice to wake up early and have some daylight, although it will be dark by 5:00pm.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you we managed to have a small, adult Halloween party at our house last night. Just a few close friends over to eat, drink and be scary. It would be scary if I cooked, so thankfully, my husband does that. But I did make some Candy Corn cocktails that turned out de-lish! The idea of the party was to also toast our new master bedroom with champagne. My friends were impressed with the bedroom. We also managed to hand out candy to trick-or treaters–the few we get.

If we were having coffee I would remind you that yesterday was my last Leisure Link. I want to thank everyone who has participated in the link party over the last few months. Watch for a wrap up post this week!

Part of the reason I discontinued my link-up was because I am so much more busy working as a part-time lecturer than I expected. I have been teaching two classes this semester. Last fall, as I was retiring from my day job, I taught two evening classes. Looking back, I don’t know how I did it, but since I had taught them both before, usually one per semester, most of my curriculum was ready to go. This semester, with just two classes, one of them is brand new and has 75 students. With the online component, it really keeps me hopping! But I love it.

Party lights enhance the new master bedroom addition
Party lights enhance the new master bedroom addition.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am a little more than half way through the school semester! Both my courses had their midterms this past week. The month of November is pretty much it for classes, except for a couple of dates in December, reserved for group project presentations and finals. As I like to keep myself scheduled and structured, I already have my 2016 schedule, for spring and even next fall! It really is nice to know what I have to look forward to.

How is your autumn coming along? I can see by many of your posts that you are enjoying the fall leaves and some of you are already reporting snow. To my friends in the southern hemisphere, I hope you are enjoying wonderful spring weather!

Enjoy your week!


Please join other fellow bloggers as they share their week at Part-Time Monster’s Weekend Coffee Share!

What’s On My Editorial Calendar?

Editorial-Calendar Perspectives On Blog

Editorial-Calendar

If you are a blogger with a busy life, you know how important it is to have some sort of calendar. In Blogging 201, we were recently assigned the task to use our blog stats to set up a 30-day editorial calendar.

My stats show certain days are better for publishing posts. This may show different results for different bloggers. The stats can reveal a lot about your best posts, best times and best days to publish. If you use WordPress, the stats page is built in and easy to understand.

After several publishing schedules over the last year, I found that my best days to publish are Thursdays, Fridays, Sundays and Mondays. Not only do my stats reveal this to be true, my life and schedule work best around these days.

sticky-notes-stock-photo
Is this you?

Creating an editorial calendar for blog posts may seem daunting to some folks. One may ask, “Why do I need a calendar? I just post on my blog when the feeling moves me.” Or, “I am not organized enough. If I try to keep a calendar I’ll just lose it or forget to write in it.”

If you fall into this category, then embrace that and go with the flow. That is your choice.

Being an organized and a time-oriented person, I cannot exist without a planner of some sort. I have tried a variety of digital calendars view-able on my phone, a try at “something”-note, and a good, old-fashioned notebook planner. Guess, what? I like the notebook planner. Above, the featured post shows an example page I used to illustrate my planner.

My blog’s “About Me”page explains what I blog about.

Here is the editorial calendar to which I adhere:
Sundays: Weekend Coffee Share
Mondays: A general post or a submission to a photo challenge*
Tuesdays and Wednesdays: No posts. On these days I still read others’ blogs via e-mail. I also spend some time on social media and link parties promoting my posts.
Thursdays: This is the day I focus on my Leisurely Thursdays feature and my link-up The Leisure Link. The Leisure Link restarts in October!
Fridays: Weekly Photo Challenge*. This is usually my best day for posts. I love photography and taking part in these challenges.
Saturday: No posts. Everyone needs a day off.

I still allow room for a random post if inspiration strikes me, like today’s post for Blogging 201.

*Images. I asterisked this because it takes time to create your own images. My post, How to Get 500+ Followers: 3 Reasons to Use Images On Your Blog was featured on Janice’s Mostly Blogging. Several bloggers commented that they found this information helpful! Be sure to plan your time accordingly. It takes me an average of two-three hours to write and prepare a blog post with an image.

I also schedule most of my posts ahead of time. I prefer to schedule my posts to publish at 6:00am Pacific time as I have readers all over the world.

For more, detailed information, visit WordPress’ article on editorial calendars. 

Blogging takes time and organization. If you are new to the wonderful world of blogging, consider the time you have and what you want to write about. It is time well spent.

Seven Summer Fitness Strategies

Family-Fitness

Seniors-enjoying-water-Aerobics
image by Kimberly Glaster; used by permission

It is no secret that being physically fit prevents illness, keeps or gets us lean, and is ideal for overall health. Everyone has their own definition of fitness. Although May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, fitness should be an attainable goal all year long.

The trouble with summer fitness is…it’s hot outside! Heat for many can be a huge deterrent to consistent exercise. Other barriers to working out in the summer-time? Vacations and travel, chasing kids, new injuries as a result of weekend warrior syndrome, and other pesky summer issues.

If you have any doubts about your exercise and fitness regimen, here are some summer fitness strategies and tips to freshen up your summer routine and keep you healthy and motivated.

1. What are your time obligations during the summer?  Does the nature of your job change with the seasons? Perhaps you are a seasonal worker, college student, or school-teacher. A drastic change in work routine can be a barrier to finding the right time to exercise. Squeeze in short walks throughout the day. Shorter spurts of exercise, such as 10 minutes of walking spaced throughout the day, offer benefits too. Make lunchtime count. While at work, keep a pair of walking shoes at your desk, and take a brisk walk during your lunch break.

If your summer evenings are free and it is cooler to exercise, try these tips: 

  • Start a walking group. Round up friends, neighbors or co-workers for regular group walks. Plan routes through your neighborhood or near your workplace, along local parks and trails, or in a nearby shopping mall. Simply walking or jogging with a friend can be an added incentive to continue your workouts.Boredom is a workout killer and having a friend along can help keep you both accountable.
  • Visit your community recreation center or local swimming pool. Many recreation programs are offered after work hours. Join a club or summer sport team. In a recent post, “Who Says Adults Can’t Have Recess” there are non-competitive alternatives for organized sports

If evenings don’t work, try getting up earlier. The sun is up earlier on summer mornings, so an early morning walk or run can kick-start your day. Wake up 30 minutes earlier twice a week to exercise. Once you’ve adjusted to early-morning workouts, add another day or two to the routine.

If your days are limited, add more time to your workout. If you are walking for 20 minutes, add five more minutes to your time over the next two weeks. When you feel ready, add another five minutes, and so on. In a previous post, I suggested ways to get three hours a week for fitness.

2. If your exercise has become boring, revamp your routine. Your weekly Saturday matinee with the kids could become a weekly Saturday bike ride, rock-climbing lesson or trip to the pool. Choose acFamily-Fitnesstivities you enjoy and you will be more likely to stay interested.

Try cross training. This can be as simple as trying a new exercise or activity. If you belong to a gym, try a spin class, zumba or body pump. Adding new exercises and rotating through different type of activities, such as walking, swimming and cycling, works out new muscles and can invigorate your fitness routine.

3. No energy to exercise? Without exercise, you’ll have no energy. It’s a vicious cycle. Perhaps you are a stay-at-home-parent and spend your summers chasing your kids. Longer summer evenings mean more time for evening fitness activities with your family. After dinner, get everyone moving during a brisk evening walk.

4. Are you a weekend warrior who is nursing a sports injury? Get professional help from a certified expert, who can monitor your movements and point you in the right direction. If your injury is serious, visit a sports medicine physician, who can evaluate you and recommend specific treatment, such as physical therapy.

If you belong to a gym, hiring a personal trainer can boost your workout as well as introduce you to new exercises. A trainer can motivate you and give you the proper exercises to help heal the injury and get you back on track.

5. If you are planning a long vacation or holiday where traveling will take you away from your routine, try these suggestions:

  • If your vacation takes you into the outdoors on a daily basis, embrace what the area has to offer. Plan ahead and pack the right shoes, clothing and equipment to enjoy the hiking trails, the lakes or other wonderful leisure spaces available to you.
  • Are you staying in a resort or hotel? Check to see what amenities it offers to guests.
  • If you are traveling and visiting friends or family members, ask them what they do for exercise. If you belong to a national chain health club, find a nearby gym and schedule time to go. Or visit their gym as a guest. Just about every neighborhood has a local park with recreation facilities like jogging/walking trail, tennis courts, club house or swimming pool. Again, plan ahead by asking your hosts for the name of the organization and check their online class schedule.

6. Quantify what you have accomplished so far. Keeping a record over a period of time and seeing results can be extremely motivating. Write down how many days you exercise, for how long, record any inches or weight lost (or gained). Do your clothes feel looser? Keeping an exercise journal can be very simple, from jotting on a notepad to keeping track on a mobile app. By writing things down, you can visually see what you have accomplished and see what else you might need to do to adjust.

7. Check out your gear. If you are wearing the same old shoes you’ve had since 2011, look for wear and tear to make sure you aren’t causing harm to your feet, knees and legs. If you swim, take a close look at your goggles or perhaps fins if using them. Many stores have summer clearance sales. Now is the time to buy something new to add to your exercise wardrobe. Nothing like a bright color to put a spring in your step!

Don’t let hot weather prevent you from getting your exercise each day. Don’t let a couple of setbacks be a barrier to regular exercise. Life can get in the way and disrupt our routines. Unfortunately, it seems easier to abandon our exercise plans when faced with time constraints or other barriers.

We all need to live balanced lives, and committing to leisure in the form of exercise in a consistent manner can lead to better health and happiness!