Get Real About Getting Active

Ok, so let’s be honest–getting in time for exercise isn’t simple for everyone. I mean, if I am being real–it’s hard. I work full-time, I have a husband, six kids–and those lovely seven people convinced me to get a puppy. Sigh. But, I try my best to make it happen.

I’m not the only one who finds it challenging. About one in three adults participates in NO leisure time physical activity at all. Worldwide, physical inactivity (35%) is now more prevalent than smoking (26%) and is responsible for more deaths.

Staying active is one of the best ways to stay healthy and live longer. Regular physical activity can help you look and feel better. It boosts your energy, strength, mood and ability to stay at a healthy weight. About two in three American adults and one in three American children are overweight or obese—and this number continues to grow.

People who are physically active and at a healthy weight live about seven years longer on average than those who are not active.

Getting at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke, help you manage stress and sleep better and improve overall health and well-being. Just 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week, is a simple way to achieve your weekly goal.

Still, it’s hard. Finding your reasons for being active can help motivate you to keep it at the top of your priority list.

Why I Make Time for Exercise

Heart disease and stroke are the No. 1 and No. 5 killers of all Americans. Cardiovascular diseases claim the lives of 1 in 3 women. I don’t want to be one of them.

I am a better wife, mom, employee, and just overall person when I exercise. It gives me a pick me up (mentally and physically) when the job, the kids’ hectic sports and school schedules, and dog’s much needed training time drain me.

And finally, I feel more confident about my physical appearance. I know it should be mostly about health and it is, truly—but let’s face it, who doesn’t like to feel like they are rocking that little black dress or their super cute skinny jeans?

Here’s How To Do It

Just get started. It is so hard, even to pick back up if you fall off for a few days. I covet my workout time and find myself craving it every day, but it wasn’t always like that. Seven years ago, after I had my youngest, I was the heaviest I had ever been and exercise wasn’t even on my radar. When I finally decided to get on the workout train, I dropped 35 pounds over the course of a year, lowered my cholesterol and have maintained both since!

Boost Your Fitness Today

Find exercise ideas, tips and inspiration in our Fitness section.

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Make it priority. Because no two days in a row are the same for me, I often work out at a different time every day, but I schedule it ahead of time and hold myself accountable to it. You don’t have to be a gym hero – just find your jam and do something you enjoy and/or have the time for. I live and die by about a dozen workout DVDs that I rotate through at any given hour of any given day, because that’s what works for me.

Check out these super easy exercises you can choose from to build your own circuit, no equipment or membership required. Circuits aren’t your thing? Take a walk. Use it as time to decompress or to place a phone call to catch up with family or friends. But just start. Move a little more each day and before you know it, it can become that “simple 30 minutes a day, five days week”.

Brianne Ballard is senior director of communications and marketing for the American Heart Association. Her career began in radio more than fifteen years ago and she later transitioned to the non-profit sector. Now with 12 years at the American Heart Association, she specializes in public relations, paid and pro-bono advertising, social media, brand management and internal communications. Brianne resides in Columbus, Ohio with her husband, six children and dog.