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Short On Time, Big On Results
Exercise Plans For The Busy Caregiver

By Sean Kenny

(Page 1 of 3)

As society gets more and more technical and connected, our days, like the globe itself, seems to shrink. Time is a precious luxury no one has enough of. While the demands of providing quality care are more than enough, add in those of family, home, school and more, and itís small wonder that exercise comes in last on the list of things to do, if it makes that list at all.

While exercise may seem like a recreational pursuit-it needs to be a part of your life, like brushing your teeth or any other personal hygiene habit. The benefits of exercise go without saying. Exercise is especially vital for the caregiver; if youíre not feeling your best, you canít perform at your best. Preaching wonít do any good at this point. We know we need to get exercise in, the question is simply how? Take a serious look at your schedule. See what you can devote to your health.

Many people tell me they donít have any time to exercise-yet they watch 2-3 hours of television per night! Is it really a question of time-or is it a question of priorities? Below are some fitness programs for maximum results in minimum time:

15 minutes per day, three times per week

 With this type of commitment we donít have a minute to lose, we can only do the most important component of fitness: cardiovascular exercise. Choose an exercise that elevates your heart rate and allows you to sustain the elevated heart rate for 12 minutes or more. The movement should be full-body or multiple muscle exercise. Great examples include: walking, biking, running, swimming, inline skating and stair climbing.

While it may seem obvious, choose an activity you like, thus youíll be more likely to adhere to it. Too many people do what their friends are doing or what they saw at 2 am on an infomercial. They never learn to like the activity and consequently drop activity from their regimen altogether. Spend a minute before the activity to gradually increase your heart rate; donít suddenly break into a run. At the end, spend a minute to slowly decrease your heart rate, slow down and do some light stretches. Repeat every other day. If your schedule is extremely tight, try to hit two days per week and either a Saturday or Sunday for your third session. Hopefully, youíll soon find more time.

25-30 minutes per day, three to four days per week.

With this schedule, we can do a bit more and focus on the resistance or muscle strengthening component of exercise. Start your regimen with the cardiovascular activity as described above, but add an additional 5 minutes.

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