faculty member lifting a weight and eating an apple

Did you make a New Year’s resolution to incorporate more movement into your life? Or are you looking to make a fitness plan but don’t know where to start? Look no further, NHCC’s own Exercise Science faculty, Daniel de Moraes is here with tips to help you start your year off right! 

Daniel reminds us, “Exercise should fit into your schedule and not the other way around. Exercise should be something you WANT to do, rather than HAVE to do. To start off the new year, give yourself the gift of simplicity and make your exercise work with, rather than against your wishes.” At North Hennepin Community College, the Exercise is Medicine program’s mission is to make wellness solutions simple and accessible to all on campus. 

Research indicates that individuals who sit for more than 5 hours a day, tend to live 5 years less than those who sit for fewer hours. Physical Inactivity is the number 1 leading cause of death in the world, (after smoking); thus, including movement throughout the day should be a priority. Let’s start with the basics: Any movement is better than none!

1.    Play Games That Require Physical Movement

Everything from video games, to playing charades, or even tapping into Siri and Alexa for help, can be creative ways to get active if you’re constantly surrounded by family. You don’t have to break a sweat to make it count.  Taking turns, or even just standing up and sitting down will do the trick to kick your metabolism into working at high gears.

2.    Create a Daily Challenge for You and Your Family

Set up goals that you must work as a team to complete, that cannot be achieved with one single effort. For example, can your family get 50,000 steps in one day? Who can do more push-ups, you or your neighbors? Who can hula-hoop the longest? Have fun and be competitive! Adding prizes for completions can also make things more interesting. 

 3.    Stop by Our Fitness Center and Weight Room This Semester

Come and meet Michaela Hobin, our Exercise is Medicine Intern and your fellow NHCC student. She will introduce you to our facilities and show you how to appropriately use the machines. Don’t worry if this is your first time, Michaela will welcome you with open arms.

 4.    Know That Your Well-Being Is Not Dependent on a Gym Membership

The beauty about exercise is that it can be 100% free. Make your house into a gym, or yoga studio without buying any equipment. Simply, move the coffee table aside, search on YouTube for “Beginners Yoga”, “10 minutes Yoga”, or “5 minutes Yoga” and bring the studio to you.

5.    Add Movement to Certain Areas of Your Home 

Every time you walk down a hallway in your home, it becomes an opportunity to do some lunges. Not sure what a lunge is? It’s a great multi-jointed, lower body exercise that targets your thigh and glute muscles. Take a wide step forward with the right leg, then bend the right knee (facing the ceiling) and left knee (facing the floor). Simultaneously, go as far down as your body allows (pain free), step forward (feet together) and repeat. Lead with your left leg and repeat until you reach the end of the hallway. Just like the hallways, your kitchen can also be an exercise zone. Use your countertops as an inclined bench press machine. As your food cooks, do some reps. Take a couple steps away from your counter and lean forward, with both hands extended in front of you (the top of the counter should be at your chest). Push yourself away and towards the counter, for no more than 20 times and no less than 12. Wash a dish, or eat a snack and do 20 more. Put food in the fridge, and do 20 more. Find excuses to move your upper body and activate your chest, shoulders, and triceps. Lastly, use your stairs to your advantage! Be safe and start slow. Balance and confidence allowing, each time that you go up and down the stairs, try going a bit faster than the previous. It is important, to make sure traffic is clear! Wait until no one is going up, or down at the same time as you. Small bursts of high intensity activity spark the same benefits as “traditional” endurance training does. Give your body periodical tastes of high efforts for best results. 

There you have it! Giving these tips and ideas a try will help incorporate more movement into your life. It’s a new year, so make it your best year!

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