National Consumers League

Find time for fitness


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By Mimi Johnson, Director of NCL Health Policy We all know it’s good for us, but fitting in the recommended level of physical activity each day can be a challenge for many. Just recently, a study reported that women in their 50s need to exercise at least 60 minutes daily in order to maintain their weight. Consumer health reporter Dr. Nancy Snyderman suggested this morning that this is just not a realistic expectation; she suggested aiming for something we are more likely able to do – 30 minutes or so, which is also good for our health. We could take a lesson or two from kids. Try to give yourself a ‘recess’ after lunch, much like you did as a child, and go for a walk. Skip the elevator and take the stairs. Park at the back of the lot and take a few extra steps on your way into the office. Find something you enjoy doing and stick with it; after a few weeks, you’ll have formed a habit and you’ll find it hard NOT to take the long way. I was recently at Disney World, and my friends and I remarked at one clever, cheap little toy that was available for use – free of charge - throughout the parks: the hula hoop. A toy that has remained relatively unchanged since its inception (and which is usually available for less than $1), the plastic hoop had kids of all ages moving and calorie burning when they would normally be standing in line. Whether we use the hula hoop or less convenient parking spots, the more ‘fitness traps’ we set for ourselves, the easier it can be to get those 30 minutes in each day.