South Carolina Reaches 2 Million Minutes and Counting!

The Fit Family Challenge is in the home stretch! If you have joined the Challenge we hope that you are starting to see progress on your way to meeting your personal goals, and adopting more health habits. You still have plenty of time to sign up, check it out and start the summer with a healthier lifestyle. Visit and start logging in those minutes! - Jeanette Gulledge, Fit Family Project Manager

The following article was prepared by Susan L. Johnson, Ph.D, a health expert offering support to families in the Low Country participating in the Fit Family Challenge.

Finding Time to Exercise

By Susan L. Johnson, Ph.D.

As a contributor to the Fit Family Challenge and Life Coach for participating families I took a step back this week and considered my own challenges as a single working mom trying to work healthy habits into my family's life through small pockets of time that we can all find throughout the day.

The most common reason people give for not exercising or eating healthy is that they don’t have enough time. A lot of people have an “all or nothing” mentality and feel that if they aren’t able to get a full 30 minutes of cardio in or a trip to the gym then it’s not worth it to do anything. Nothing could be further from the truth! Although sustaining target heart rate for extended periods of time is good for cardio-respiratory fitness, small bouts of intense exercise are also extremely beneficial. Additionally, 10 minutes of moderate intensity activity such as walking three times per day can significantly reduce your risk for developing chronic disease. So simply parking a little further from your destination or walking instead of driving to lunch or errands can make a big difference in overall health, and burns extra calories!

Another barrier to exercise for working parents is that they are just too exhausted after a long day of work and I can certainly relate to that! Try the “10 minute ticker” – you can do anything for 10 minutes and sometimes that’s all it takes to mentally convince yourself to do it. Once you’ve started, usually you’ll continue longer. Try doing simple exercises like planks, push-ups and lunges during commercials or while doing household chores and make it a habit to take at least a 10 minute walk every night after dinner or before bed.

Love farm-fresh produce? How about growing your own? In addition to being a source of fresh, healthy produce, gardening can ease stress, keep you limber, and even improve your mood. Gardening gets you out in the fresh air and sunshine, it gets your blood moving, and gardeners eat more fruits and vegetables than their peers.

Here are some additional ideas for fitting short bursts of activity into your day:

At home:

• Take a few 10-minute walks or bike rides during the day.
• Use an exercise DVD for a little while in the morning and a little while in the evening.
• Take a 10-minute dance break with your young children.
• Play Frisbee, hopscotch, or jump rope with children.
• Walk or bike to the store.
• Walk the dog
• Read the newspaper on a stationary bike or treadmill

At work:

• Park farther from your office or get off the bus a few stops early.
• Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
• Conduct walking meetings.
• If you need to speak to a coworker, walk to that person's office or station rather than using e-mail or the phone.
• Use your morning and afternoon breaks to take quick 15-minute walks.

For more ideas on how to work healthy habits into your daily life, check out these resources:

Dr. Johnson is the Director of Health Promotion at Medical University of South Carolina. She can be reached at

06-30-2014 08:40 (EDT)