10 Things I Know About … How to be fit with a busy schedule

10) Sit less. Most people sit all day – in their car, at their desk, in meetings, on planes, at conferences or elsewhere. Lack of movement reduces muscle strength and flexibility.

9) Standing is no better. Standing is not the answer either, as your body is still in one position all day. All parts of your body need to move – even your eye muscles need time away from the computer screen. Take breaks. Try different positions to improve mobility and blood flow.

8) Move and exercise more. Even busy people can incorporate exercise into their schedule. Walk when you can. When working, sit on a stability ball, which will work your core. Don’t park in the closest parking space and take the stairs.

7) Start with your core. The core muscles around the spine provide the foundation for a healthy body. Like the foundation of a house, core muscles support the whole structure. If you only work out on weekends, you will be more susceptible to injuries, as you put heavy loads on a weak core.

6) Consider Pilates. Pilates is an ideal starting point for men and women. It’s not just for athletes likes LeBron James and Jake Arrieta. In addition to helping prevent injuries, Pilates will strengthen your core, including your abs, obliques and back muscles, while improving your posture.

5) Pay attention to form. Most people not only don’t move enough, they don’t move the way they should. Go to any gym and you’ll find that about 90 percent of the people have bad form. Proper form can help you avoid injury and maximize results.

4) Vary your exercise routine. The human body has more than 650 muscles. When you spin, jog, lift weights or otherwise focus on a single type of exercise, only those muscles will benefit.

3) Move naturally. Natural movement is a way to use your entire body, as you would move in nature. Squatting, climbing, walking, sitting on the ground, balancing, hanging, crawling and throwing are movements we no longer need to do to survive. Incorporating these into your day will keep you strong.

2) Get help. Try working with a personal trainer or taking classes with certified instructors.

1) Do what you can. There never seems to be enough time to address all components of fitness. Finding ways to strengthen and stretch your muscles, while adding cardio and meditation or yoga can be daunting. Develop an exercise program to address a wide variety of exercises. Pick activities energizing you, giving you a sense of accomplishment and suiting your lifestyle.

Rita Matraia is the owner of Northborough fitness studio The Core Connection. She can be reached at rita@thecoreconnection.com.

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