Get creative about where and how you exercise

You can exercise just about anywhere, in any situation and in what ever amount of time you have. In fact, the American Heart Association (AHA) says that exercising for 10 minutes three times a day is just as effective as a 30-minute workout.

Many bodyweight exercises require very little space. Remember your high school gym days? Jumping jacks, lunges, touching your toes and other exercises that you did in school are great options for your at-home or at-work routine.

Speaking of work, there are plenty of opportunities throughout the workday to integrate exercise into your routine. Parking your car farther away is an easy way to get in a good walk. Instead of sitting down for a meeting, schedule a walk and talk.

I stretch at my work station several times a day and at home while I am waiting for something to heat in the microwave. Stretching promotes flexibility and is an easy exercise: reach toward your toes, reach overhead, and then bend from side to side.

You can get creative in ways to get your heart pumping without a gym or equipment.

Create rituals, such as setting an alarm to remind you to get up and move around. Eliminate the urge to be a couch potato by exercising during the commercials when you are watching TV. Walk around the sports field while your kids are playing soccer. You can watch the game and be active while you are doing it.

Ride your bike to a park, the convenience store or a friend’s house. You can make it a slow, leisurely ride or challenge yourself to a sprint. The higher the intensity, the more calories you will burn.

Be sure to take brief walks and stretch while you are traveling. For example, if you are on a plane or taking a long car trip, take advantage of any stop to loosen up and move your body.

Here are a few other suggestions from the AHA:

• Take the stairs instead of the elevator. (Don’t overdo it. Start with a flight or two and work your way up.)
• Skip dessert and savor a sweet walk with your family after dinner. Or invite a friend or neighbor to take a stroll with you.
• Join a team. Group activities are fun — and you are more likely to participate in a sport if your teammates are counting on you.

Be mindful of exercise and incorporate it into your everyday life. Soon, it will become a healthy habit.