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Physical Activity Ideas When Space is a Challenge

Getting regular physical activity can be a challenge for many reasons. Sometimes it is because you do not have a good place to exercise. This may be because there is not a park or fitness center nearby, no sidewalks, or maybe you do not feel safe.

Robyn Partin, St. Jude human performance lab clinical operations manager, has these tips for ways to exercise:

Online videos are one way to exercise at home.

Online videos are one way to exercise at home.

Inside your home: It is OK if you do not have exercise equipment. You can still sweat and get your heart beating fast. For weights, you can use jugs of water or soup cans. You can find good exercise videos online. Massachusetts General Cancer Center has a series of online workout videos on YouTube you can do at home. The workouts have different levels of intensity. They include dancing, aerobics, and yoga. If you feel comfortable and are able, you can use stairs to exercise. Go up and down a few times to raise your heart rate.

In a community center: Many towns have community centers with indoor and outdoor health and fitness facilities, dance and fitness classes, and sometimes a pool. They are often open at night. Sometimes they also have after school care and summer camps for children so the entire family can have a place to exercise.

In a group: You may not want to go for a walk or run outside alone if you feel unsafe. Ask friends or neighbors to join you. Stay on the sidewalks (if available) of well-lit, busier roads; wear bright clothing or reflective vests; and be aware of your surroundings. Meet at a public location or a person’s home. Select a route and share it with your friends or family who will not be with you. Tell them when you expect to finish.

In a school or workplace: Some schools offer “open gym” times for people to play basketball or walk around the track. Check with the local school system. If it is not an option, you may ask if it is possible to offer this to the community. Some workplaces also have fitness facilities. Or you may be able to walk around the building or campus. Invite coworkers to join you. Even 10 minutes of walking can be good for your health and give you a boost of energy.

Robyn Partin

Robyn Partin, MPH, is manager of clinical research operations for the Human Performance Lab at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

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