While it may not be a primary concern for many Cal Poly students, it’s not uncommon knowledge that we aren’t all getting enough exercise. After all, if we were all working out constantly, the line at the Rec Center would be out the door. We’ve all been there, in that weary place, tired from being in class all day and the most appealing thing in the world is going home and relaxing in front of the television. The last thing on your mind is trying to squeeze in a workout, and you think there are not enough hours in the day. However, there are plenty of ways to exercise without actually putting on your gym clothes and heading off to the Rec Center.
In 2005, for the first time ever, the United States Department of Agriculture included a physical activity component in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The recommendation is simple and easy to follow: 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity each day. You thought I was going to say 3 hours didn’t you? I bet you have 30 minutes to spare. In fact, I bet you have 15 minutes to spare twice during the day. According to the people who developed the guidelines, small broken-up workouts are just as effective as one big workout.
So how do you get started? Keep a log of the things you already do throughout the day. Things like walking to class, biking around town, doing yard work or even light weight training when you do make it to the Rec Center (note that weight training does not include lifting your backpack a couple of times). Once you’ve got a little list down of what you already do, plan what you can do to increase the activity. This includes the times of day when you can be more active. Once you’ve got a plan, find a way to stick to it. Get a walking buddy and post your workout ideas in a place where you’ll always see them.
There are lots of things you can do to get moving aside from parking farther away and mixing all those shortcuts we all know and love. Here are some ideas to get you started:
1. Get up 30 minutes earlier and take a walk around your neighborhood before you get ready for class.
2. Instead of sitting around watching TV, do household chores and projects while the TV is on.
3. Wash your own car instead of hitting the drive through car wash.
4. When working at your computer, give yourself at least a five-minute break every hour to get up and walk around.
5. Take a walk downtown. If you can’t walk downtown from where you live, walk to the nearest bus stop and catch the bus.
6. Instead of talking to friends on the phone, make a plan to meet and then walk and talk together.
Robin and Jessica are senior Nutriton students and Peer Health Educators. They can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org