Boost Daily Activity Plan

As a caregiver, you can probably use a little extra energy to help you through your busy day. Getting regular physical activity can help. Research shows it may help you sleep better, and it can increase energy and alertness.

The question is, how can you find the time for it?

The good news is you do not have to join a gym to become more active. You can simply start mixing short periods of activity into your daily life by creating a daily exercise plan.

What’s more, these small efforts can make a real difference when you add them up. By working up to 30 minutes of activity each day of the week, you may start feeling more energized.

Always be sure to check with your health care provider before beginning any activity plan or increasing your activity.

It always helps to ask:

  • What activities are right for me?
  • How much should I do each day?
  • How many days a week?

It's also important to ask him or her what your target heart rate is to help determine what exercise intensity is appropriate for you.

Easy ways to fit in activity

Here’s how to become a little more active each day:

  1. Take a short walk before or right after breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Start with 5 to 10 minutes, and work up slowly from there once you get used to it.
  2. Walk or bicycle to nearby destinations instead of taking the car.
  3. Pedal on a stationary bike while you’re watching TV.
  4. When you head to the mall, once you’re inside, take a walk around the whole mall before you start shopping. If it’s a large mall, walk around half of it.
  5. Walk the dog. If you do this already, try to add 5 to 10 minutes to your normal routine.
  6. After loading bags into your car at the grocery store, walk the cart back to the store.
  7. When you drive places, park a couple of blocks from your destination and walk the rest of the way.
  8. Take the stairs instead of the elevator whenever possible.

How to make activity a habit

Here are 4 simple strategies to help you stick with a more active lifestyle:

  1. Getting into a rhythm. It’s often best to set aside a specific time during the day to be active. For example, try scheduling a short walk every day at 8 AM, or running errands on Saturday mornings at 10 AM.
  2. Two’s company. Whether it’s the person in your care, a family member, or a friend, ask someone to join you for activities on a regular basis. It’s easier and more fun when someone’s there with you.
  3. One thing at a time. No need to begin all of these everyday fitness tips at once. If you have not been active, pick 1 or 2 favorite activities. Aim for 5 minutes of activity a day. Work up from there.
  4. A written record of success. At the end of the day or week, try writing down the activities you did and how you felt. This can help you see how well you’re doing.

Once again, getting more activity can be much easier when you mix it into your daily routine. Just start slowly and build up from there. Doing so may help you become a healthier, happier, more energized caregiver.

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