Sneak Exercise into Daily Routine

Health, Home & Family
on February 8, 2004

Get out and get movingits Maureen Scocznyskis mantra. Shes using regular exercise, along with medication, in hopes of bringing her cholesterol, currently at 262, to below 200.

I walk three miles three or four days a week. I use the treadmill and do resistance and free-weight training. I use the stairs, says Scocznyski, a 56-year-old registered nurse from Norton, Mass. (pop. 18,036). For me, its about being more active.

It makes sense, says Patti Mantia of Mansfield, Mass. (pop. 22,414), a fitness trainer and exercise science instructor at Holyoke Community College. Think of exercise as being like the maintenance you do on your car, she says. Your body needs the same regular care.

Regular cardiovascular exerciseactivities that involve continuous movement of the arms and legsincreases so-called good cholesterol while helping eliminate bad cholesterol. Think of it as being similar to putting cleaner down a drain, Mantia says, describing the way exercise is believed to help lower cholesterol.

Before beginning an exercise program, talk with your physician about activities that are right for you. Then consider possibilities that suit your lifestyle. It doesnt have to be complicated, it doesnt have to be grueling, Mantia says. You dont have to buy anything to do it or join a health club. You just have to get out there and do it.

Take a ballroom dancing, kick boxing or active yoga class to expand your repertoire of possible avenues for activity. Play team and individual sports such as golf, bowling, tennis or swimming, then take a few classes to improve your techniques and find partners. Finally, look for ways to fit small bits of exercise into your day, such as:

  • Using the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Parking your car in the far corner of the lot and walking in.
  • Working out with a friend.
  • Devoting half your lunch break to walking.
  • Doing calisthenics, skipping rope, or lifting hand weights during television commercials.
  • Do your own aerobic tasks at home, such as mowing the yard, washing windows or the cars, hand-waxing floors or gardening.