Moving as little as 60 minutes a week can have health benefits.
There’s good news out of a recent report by the American College of Sports Medicine for anyone struggling to find the time — or motivation — to stay physically active.
Although the experts at ACSM state in their new book, “Complete Guide to Fitness & Health,” that “adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week,” they also stress that even moving as little as 60 minutes a week can have health benefits.
The ACSM had something to say about sitting around too much, even if you do hit that magic 150 number: “Sedentary behavior — sitting for long periods of time — is distinct from physical activity and has been shown to be a health risk in itself. Meeting the guidelines for physical activity does not make up for a sedentary lifestyle.”
In short, try to move around as much as you can, whether you’re a gym rat or not. Stand instead of sit. Walk instead of drive. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Wiggle. Hop. Fidget.
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Considering that we’re supposed to be making time to move often, and that experts believe bursts of activity done throughout the day can be beneficial, it makes sense to focus on exercises you can do at home. To that end, here are five great home gym pieces to get you started:
Stretch and stabilize
We love stability balls, such as this one from Reebok ($21.99 at http://tinyurl.com/4xl8ukk), which also comes with a workout DVD. Not only are stability balls great for doing a variety of toning and strengthening moves, but they’re also wonderful for stretching out on if you have a sore back. Make sure you pick the right size ball depending on your height.
Work on endurance
If the last time you jumped rope was in grade school, you’re in for a shock. It’s hard! Pick up this CSI Cannon Sports Olympic 8-foot jump rope ($7.99 at http://www.cannonsports.com/printproduct.php?model
95014) and give it a whirl. Work up slowly. Jump for the duration of one television commercial instead of using your DVR to fast forward.
Yoga mats are nice for any floor workout you might do, whether that’s Pilates, yoga or good old-fashioned sit-ups and push-ups. We like this Eco Reversible mat ($29.98 at http://www.gaiam.com/product/eco+reversible+yoga+mat+peacock.do) from Gaiam because it contains no PVC or latex.
Take it on the chin
Speaking of old-fashioned, try challenging chin-ups. The Ultimate Chin-Up Bar ($29.99 at http://store.gofit.net/Ultimate-Chin-Up-Bar-p/gf-hcub.htm) from GoFit fits in most standard doorframes and can be adjusted to do sit-ups and push-ups. The bar holds up to 350 pounds.
Hand weights, such as the Tone Fitness dumbbell set ($37, at Amazon), are, um, handy to have around. Put your out-of-state cousin on speakerphone and do triceps dips while you catch up or do a set of curls before you head out to meet friends.