As a caregiver, you likely do not have the time to hit the gym; this is especially true if you’re working, caring for your own family and taking care of aging parents. Medical experts, however, recommend we get up to 30 minutes a day of exercise in order to remain fit and healthy.
What’s a caregiver to do?
Here are some steps you can take to work fitness into your everyday routine in ways you may never have considered before:
- Turn your chores into a fitness routine. When you’re vacuuming do it with more vigor.
- Picking up the newspaper from the curb? Work in a five minute walk.
- Invest in an exercise bike or treadmill and walk on it or ride it when you’re talking on the phone.
- If you’re cooking dinner, do some “counter push-ups” while the food is cooking. How? Stand arm’s length from the counter, stand on your tip toes and do some push-ups by pushing away from the counter.
- Lift dumbbells. If you don’t have dumbbells, lift jugs of milk or canned goods.
- If you’re waiting at the bus stop for the children, take a walk until the bus arrives.
- When you grocery shop, park far away from the store and get in some additional steps.
- Rather than taking an hour lunch break, take 30 minutes to eat your lunch and then take a 30 minute walk.
- If you have a break during the day, climb some stairs.
- Waiting in line? Do some “toe-ups” by standing on your tip toes and stretching your calves. Squeeze your glutes.
- If you’re watching television use commercials for a short burst of a workout. Get up and walk around the house or march in place during commercials.
- If you’re sitting on the couch, do some leg lifts.
You may not be able to devote a full 30 minutes at a time to a workout routine, but most every caregiver can find a way to work out on short, five to ten minute bursts! Taking care of yourself will give you the energy you need to care for your family.