When it comes to your health, you have to make the time. There are no short-cuts to feeling better, and that’s why fad diets don’t work: they aren’t sustainable. What is? A healthy Lifestyle. This means making the effort with doing small things on a regular basis and not turning to quick fad diets. All of these small steps and activities that you do will have a powerful and life changing effect on your life. This is most apparent in daily exercise.
But in our daily routine we are primarily two things: (1) sedentary and (2) busy. So how can we get our ADA recommended minimum 30 minutes of RIGOROUS activity? Here are some tips to help you out.
(1) Do the Small Things— Try incorporating movement throughout your day like….
Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
Park far away from the supermarket so you have to walk further to and from your car.
Go for a walk during your 15 minute break or during your lunch break.
“Sit and Be Fit” is where you can do exercises even at your desk (http://www.sitandbefit.org/).
Find a family activity you can do together that get you off the couch, like checking out local museums (some are free!).
All of these will not only get your body moving but it’ll help you break away from your routine. We all need a mental break as well as a physical break from our sedentary lifestyle.
(2) Find Your Sport—You don’t have to work out in the gym. It can more exciting to be active outdoors. You can enjoy fresh air and great scenery. There are also other things you can do that don’t involve weight training or running on a treadmill. You can rock climb with a friend, swim, bicycle across the Golden Gate Bridge, run around the neighborhood, do a exercise bootcamp at a local park, play tennis with your family members, join a basketball/softball league, or even join an exercise class like yoga, pilates, and Zumba. Escape the four walls and enjoy the outdoors if you can!
(3) Make a Workout Playlist—It’s been proven that listening to music with a great fast beat actually helps to get pumped and work out harder! Kelly Clarkson’s “Since You’ve Been Gone” makes me work out harder because nothing is more delicious than looking hot in front of your exes 😉
(4) Set SMART goals—Specific. Measureable. Attainable. Realistic. Timely. Don’t plan on running a marathon tomorrow. Make small improvements on a regular basis such as “I will jog two miles in the mornings at least twice this week.” Once you reach that goal, maybe you’ll challenge yourself further like “I will run two miles in the morning three times this week.” There is no sense in overwhelming yourself with giant intimidating goals such as “I will go to the gym twice a day everyday of the week.” In the long run, those baby steps add up and you’ll see how far you’ve come.
(5) Join the Buddy System—Find a partner/partners with whom you can exercise on a daily basis. Whether it is your husband, wife, son, daughter, cousin’s boyfriend’s great aunt’s niece’s science teacher’s 8 year old son’s best friend’s mom. There is someone you can work out with. This will help both of you by holding each of you accountable and also motivate you. Make it a challenge and set goals to reach together.
(6) Challenge Yourself—Who doesn’t like a challenge. Walking everyday is great but it’s beneficial to you to grow in your physical activities. After a week of walking around the neighborhood, try jogging. After a couple of weeks after that, try running. It can be very intimidating, but that’s why we take it one step at a time (refer to tip #3, Set SMART goals). Without sufficient challenge, guess what? Your body is getting used to the small routine and not improving. That’s what we are after: improving your health! Take the challenge. You’ll feel so accomplished each day that you work towards it.
(7) Schedule It—Everyday we do tasks that we have to do in order to live: eat, poop, sleep. Guess what? Make exercise one of those “unmovable” things on your calendar. Write it in giant red marker in your daily planner or iCalendar. If you miss it, you’ll feel guilty. It’s an accountability issue.
(8) Find What Motivates You–This is perhaps the most important tip. Why would you want to work out? I can post all of these tips and encourage you to work out or go exercise, but if you don’t want to then it’s out of my hands. But I can help you understand how beneficial it is for you to work out and how easy it is to do so. It helps with your overall health. Sure, you’ll look good, but there’s something bigger in the scheme of things than that. What makes me enjoy working out the most is how I feel. On a normal basis, people feel “fine” or “good,” but it boggles my mind how much better and happier we feel after an hour of exercise. Those happy endorphins surge in our brain and make us feel great. And beyond that, I feel better about myself. My confidence has shot through the roof because I learned to apply myself, take on and accomplish new challenges, and I have learned to find strength in myself. Our bodies are getting better circulation and movement which contributes to more flexibility of our muscles, less joint pain, and less mental stress so it is undeniable how rigorous exercise can make so many undeniably great contributions to our lives. It’s something that you can just ignore. Find your reason and get moving: your body and mind will thank you every second of the day.