The importance of making time for yourself — and your health

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The author poses in his garden. Gardening is a great way to work activity — and some outdoor time — to your day.

Being an adult comes with many responsibilities: family, work, chores, volunteering. We’re pulled in different directions and spend most of our waking hours doing things for everyone but ourselves.

Just think back over the last week. How many hours did you spend taking care of your own health and fitness? Federal guidelines say we should be getting at least 2 1/2 hours of moderate aerobic exercise weekly. Unfortunately, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention poll last year showed only about 20 percent of Americans are reaching that benchmark.

What about you? Are you part of the 20 percent that gets physical activity in? Or are you part of the 80 percent that can’t seem to find the time?

If you’re part of the latter group, this message is for you: Start making some time for yourself.

The 2 1/2 hours of physical activity weekly equates to just over 20 minutes a day. That’s a small investment with the promise of big returns.

We all know the benefits of exercise, but too often we look at taking time to exercise as being selfish. I’m here to tell you that carving out a little time for your health isn’t wasteful, it’s smart.

By increasing your fitness level, you’ll have more energy and be more productive in all aspects of your life. You’ll be able to do more with family; you’ll be able to do more at work. Plus, working out consistently boosts your immune system — and that means fewer sick days.

seanactive

Don’t have time for exercise? Sure you do! A 20-minute daily walk with the family is a great start, writes the author.

Did you know that more and more employers are looking into wellness benefits as a way to not only give back to their employees, but also as a way to increase productivity and save money?

Johnson & Johnson implemented a wellness program for employees in 1995, and it estimates that between 2002 and 2008, the program saved the company over $250 million dollars! Health insurance companies have also been adding wellness benefits, paying or subsidizing gym memberships or providing other resources. Call your provider to see if you qualify.

Now, about that 20 minutes. Moderate aerobic activity can be anything from a walk with the dog, playing with your kids, gardening (check out Being808’s gardening group), even house work! There are many ways to be more active and every little bit counts. Challenge yourself this week to get your 20 minutes a day! Your body will thank you for it and so will the people in your life.

HiguchiSean Higuchi grew up in Pukalani, Maui, and graduated from the University of Puget Sound with a bachelor’s degree in exercise science. As a personal trainer, Sean has worked with health care providers to create weight loss programs and implement fitness plans for patients transitioning out of rehabilitation. Since moving home with his wife Katie, they’ve welcomed their first child Tori and opened Anytime Fitness gym in Pukalani.

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