Thursday, June 24, 2010

Menu Planning and Exercise?

Coffee Talk Thursday

Recently, I was going through my Cent$ible Nutrition materials (a class I took through the Family & Consumer Science department of our state university's extension service), and I came across a physical activity planning sheet. It says, "Just as you plan a weekly menu, plan your daily physical activity...You are more likely to be physically active if you plan time." I already plan our menus, so why not plan our outside activity times too?

We've all probably heard the tip to schedule exercise into our day. Sometimes, I think that can make us feel so "all or nothing" about it. It doesn't have to be an exercise video, or a really intense trip to the gym (for those who have gym memberships). Fitting in 30 minutes of activity can be much more moderate and realistic, like a 30-minute walk with the kids, or a nice bike ride as a family after dinner.

I've done the intense thing (pre-kids), and in my experience, it made me too obsessive. Not good. So I think moderate and n-o-r-m-a-l is better! I won't argue that a hard run will get your heart rate up more than a walk with kids, but in this post, I shared a quote a like that the best exercise for the long run is what most mirrors real life.

My materials recommend 30 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week (60 minutes at least for children). Now that summer's here, that's pretty easy to achieve!

Physical Benefits of Regular Physical Activity:
Increases physical fitness
Helps build and maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints
Builds endurance and muscular strength
Helps manage weight
Lowers risk factors for cardiovascular disease, colon cancer, and type 2 diabetes
Helps control blood pressure
Promotes psychological well-being and self-esteem
Reduces feelings of depression and anxiety

Have you ever thought of planning exercise like menu planning? How does it work best for you? Do you think we set the bar so high that we feel like if we can't reach that today, we might as well not do anything? I think it's almost better to set the bar low, if you will, so we won't feel like a failure. Plus, we're still enjoying getting out there and moving!

It's Coffee Talk Thursday. Your turn to share your thoughts!

Have a great, active day!

(linked to Works for Me Wednesday)


  1. I love the idea of a a exercise "menu." Thanks for sharing!

  2. I've been scheduling exercise into my planner for the past few months or so. If I don't, I'll forget (or ignore) it. But I don't get obsessive about it, either; if I miss a day, I'll just catch the next one.

  3. This is a great prompt for me. During the school year, I get daily walks to and from school. But now, especially with a new swing set in the backyard, my exercise is going to have to be planned.

  4. I walk a lot, but it's a casual walk in the neighborhood while listening to music, and I've done it for years so I feel like it's 'not really exercise'. Certainly it's not *additional* exercise I'll lose weight with.

    I've noticed though, that menu planning has helped me eat healthier (and less, too - no more haphazard 'some of this, some of that' for dinner). So I feel like I've been losing weight just as a consequence of eating at home more and eating better food.

    In fact, I used to have an 'eat out' night once a week (I'm single, it worked for me). But, I gave it up because cooking at home was just as appealing, once I got some good recipes going!!

  5. Lately I've been meeting friends 3x each week for a walk/run. Having people to be accountable with makes a WORLD of difference!

  6. I walk three times a week in the morning with a neighbor so that's my planned walk. I also have been getting out the other mornings with my iPod Touch and listening to music or Shaklee conference calls to keep me going with my business. I find if I get my walk in at the beginning of the day, it sets the tone for the day.

  7. Exactly what I needed to hear today! I always feel like if I'm not killing myself daily then I'm not exercising right or hard enough for it to be effective. I love the idea of a menu. Thanks!

  8. I write "stretch" on my daily to-do list and allow myself to check it off if I have done ANY exercise at all. Many days, I just spend a few minutes on the exercise ball or stretching to music, but it's a lot better than nothing! Often, getting started makes me feel so good that I do more than I thought I was going to.