Its common knowledge that regular exercise and a healthy diet keep you healthy longer.  Using your body keeps everything working properly and helps with mood and general outlook.  It also helps with weight management, boosts energy levels, improves sleep, improves lung function. prevents certain cancers, improves libido, improves brain function and combats conditions like heart disease and high blood pressure.

It is recommended that adults get at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise each week or one hour and 15 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity, or a combination of both.    Adults should also engage in muscle-strengthening activities like lifting weights or doing push-ups at least twice per week.

Knowing all these benefits, you’d think most people would have a regular exercise program.  But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analyzed survey data collected from more than 450,000 U.S. adults ages 18 and older who were randomly phoned across all 50 states and the results showed that less than 20% of Americans are getting the recommended combination of exercise.  Although only 20 percent of adults are meeting the overall physical activity recommendations, it is encouraging that half the adults in the United States are meeting the aerobic guidelines and a third are meeting the muscle-strengthening recommendations.

A study last year linked physical inactivity to more than 5 million deaths worldwide per year, more than those caused by smoking.  Now that’s a scary fact.  While geographical location has an impact on these results because most won’t be going for walks in the colder months, indoor exercise is always an option.  If you don’t feel like braving the cold, you could join a gym, take an aerobic exercise class or simply exercise at home.

While many say they just don’t have time with their work schedule, daily routines and family responsibilities, keep in mind that exercise comes in many forms and doesn’t have to be done all at once.  If you can’t manage 30 minutes of aerobic exercise five days a week, try achieving it in smaller doses.  Fitting in a 15 minute walk on your lunch break is an easy cardio session that can give you at least half the amount.  Then depending on your children’s age group-an impromptu dance party with the little ones will give you the other half.

 Mowing your lawn with a push mower or weeding your garden are excellent ways to get the heart pumping and use those muscles.  Anyone that’s ever done these tasks knows that this is true.  No lawn to mow?  Park your car farther away in the parking lot for the walk into the grocery store.  These are chores that need to be done anyways so consider yourself a multitasker if you’ve done these!

Taking a swim or doing yoga are some low impact exercises for those with joint pain or previous injury that limits their mobility.  However you decide to get your recommended amount of exercise, breaking your sessions down can help you fit a regular program into a busy schedule.  The more exercise you get, the more endurance you build for longer sessions and ultimately the better your overall health and quality of life will be.