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Challenge: Exercise Just 10 Minutes Per Day
Take the "21 Day Challenge" with your spouse and improve your health by exercising just 10 minutes a day.
Think carefully about each of the following true statements:
* Americans are eating much less today than they did 50 years ago.
* Current trends now indicate that by the end of next year (2010), 81 percent of Americans will be obese.
* Shortly after the birth of our nation (220 years ago), 95 percent of the energy output of this country was from the human body—today it is less than 1 percent.
I believe there's a direct correlation between all three of those statements. Everyone knows that eating too much fast and fried food leads to obesity. However, one of the biggest things often overlooked, as it relates to why obesity in America has steadily increased, is as follows: We have become a sedentary society—we're not moving enough! Our evolution as a society from agricultural, to industrial, to technological has left our bodies behind.
Even when given a choice most people will choose to move less. This can be especially true if you and your spouse partake in the same lackadaisical lifestyle. Think I'm exaggerating? Next time you're at the grocery store, watch someone wait five minutes to park 50 feet closer! Elevators, escalators, automobiles, golf carts, remote controls, gas fireplaces, etc. All these things make life easier but they're leaving our bodies behind.
Statistics today show that 60 percent of Americans are sedentary, meaning they don't move unless they have to. Thirty percent are sporadic, meaning they exercise when they get a chance, but not nearly enough. Only 10 percent are physically fit! Which category do you and your spouse fit in?
It is precisely for this reason that we should make it a habit to exercise every day! We hear all the time that everyone should get a minimum of 30-minutes of daily exercise. But with only 10 percent physically fit, clearly that formula is not working. Why is it not working? I believe it's unrealistic for most people to successfully set aside 30 minutes a day to exercise. There're simply too many things that get in the way.
If you and your spouse are struggling to move more and fit in some fitness, here are two keys to turning things around:
1. Become more aware of how many times each day you take the easy way out, and take the alternative. In other words, how many times do you opt for the sedentary solution, e.g. taking the elevator or escalator verses using the stairs, or taking the car to do something where you could have walked instead, etc?
2. Set a goal to exercise every day, but for only 10 minutes. This will annihilate the excuse of, "I just don't have time today." Are you kidding me? You'll spend more time watching commercials in a half hour TV program than if you just got up and did your 10-minute workout!
Let's See This Theory in Action
Over the years, I've proven with my clients that people are far more successful at reaching their fitness goals when they increase the frequency (develop the habit of exercising every day), increase the intensity (workout more vigorously), and decrease the total time spent working out (to as little as 10 minutes). To demonstrate why this is the case, let's look at the following simple comparison between Dorothy and Bob.
Dorothy decides to take the conventional approach of exercising two to three times a week for 30 to 45 minutes. Dorothy started out great. Then the second week things got really busy and she missed a-day. The next week things got even busier and she missed two workouts. Her total workouts for the month…11.
Bob decides to try the new approach of exercising for only 10 minutes every day. Bob's first week started busy and things stayed busy all month. But at only 10 minutes a day he managed to stay much more consistent. His total workouts for the month…26!
If you find yourself in either the 60 percent (sedentary), or the 30 percent (sporadic) category, then I challenge you to take my "21-Day Challenge." Studies have shown that it takes a minimum of 21 days to establish a habit. I challenge you to change your habits by committing to: (A) becoming less sedentary, and (B) exercising every day for 21 days straight.
Write a brief comment on what you did each day to: (A) move more throughout the day so as to not take the easy way out, and (B) exercise for at least 10 minutes.
When you're finished taking the 21-Day Challenge—whether you and your spouse stick to that method going forward or not—at least you'll have a better understanding of how valuable it is to exercise daily and increase how often you move throughout the day. I'm betting it will have a lasting impact on your future fitness. And who knows, maybe you can start eating a bit more and not have to worry about putting on extra pounds.
Former NFL player Dave Hubbard, known today as America's Fitness Coach, has been lecturing on how to Get Fit For Life for over 20 years. Learn more at www.Fit10.com.
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