Regular exercise is one of the best ways to stay healthy and energized. And making time for a workout every now and then isn't that hard. But enjoying the workout, and incorporating it into a regular fitness schedule, is constant challenge for many people.
It’s so easy to put exercise and activity to the bottom of your long to-do list. But being active is one of the most important things you can do, each day if you can, for good health.
The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion tells us that the average adult needs 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity weekly. Moderate-intensity means anything that gets your heart beating faster counts.
Immediate results can include better mood, more sleep, and less stress. Regular physical activity over time can help lower your risk for Type 2 diabetes, and help control your cholesterol or blood pressure, among many other things
There are always obstacles to a healthy workout routine. That's why it's important to find an exercise that you enjoy – this will help you develop a good routine and lasting habits. When exercise becomes a reward, not a punishment, you will embrace it in a newfound, positive way.
Try new things. There's no better way to find workouts that you love than to experiment with a variety of different motions and techniques. Think about activities that bring you joy and find their counterparts in the exercise world, in-person or virtually! Combine physical activity with something you already do, such as walking the dog, shopping or doing household chores. Do you love to dance? Try a Zumba or Barre class. Do you love loud-pumping music, intense sprints, and high-energy? Opting for spin, bootcamp or kickboxing will probably be more your speed. Not sure? Try everything! If you don't like it, try something else.
Recruit a buddy. Working out with a pal is both fun and helpful for developing a habit. Partners can hold you accountable and enhance performance, as there's a healthy level of motivation and competition. Plus, it's a lot easier to skip a workout solo than it is to let someone else down. When your teammate is counting on you to show up, you're going to be there. Accountability partners also don't have to be in person, as virtual connections have been proven just as beneficial. FaceTime your friend across the world, if that'll motivate you long-term!
Make it convenient. Working out takes time. Between the commuting or zooming, changing and showering, it can make us feel as though we simply don't have time to get in enough of a workout to affect our goals. However, making exercise convenient can help us stick with an exercise plan. If you exercise first thing in the morning, pack everything the night before, and leave the bag by the door. Are you still social distancing? Perform bodyweight exercises on YouTube in the comfort of your own home. Hate gym crowds? Purchase a machine and a few exercise materials, such as kettlebells and TRX straps, to store in your home or office.
Pencil it on the calendar. Save your exercise time as you would any other meeting, and physically add it to your calendar. Prioritize exercise as a healthy activity that is important to you and make a promise to yourself that you will keep. Once you make time, and make it a habit, you’ll actually want to exercise instead of just feeling you should. Remember, exercise is supposed to reduce stress, not create it. If getting to the gym is a problem, exercise at home. if you don’t have an hour to devote toward exercise, a focused twenty-minute workout in the living room is better than nothing at all. If you’re stuck at your work desk, stretch your legs out in front of you, raise your arms, roll those shoulders and try some trunk rotations.
Stick to a regular time. Many experts believe that choosing a time that works best and sticking with it throughout the week will create a habit. If you find that the later it gets in the day, the more unexpected work pops up and the less time you have to fit in a workout, then waking up a bit earlier to hit the trails in the morning might be best. Set a plan to wake up at the same time each morning you have a workout scheduled so that your body can adjust to the new appointment. With time, you will start waking up on your own! Likewise, if you found a class you love, become a regular at that specific class time, and make friends with the instructor and other regulars.
Be patient with results. Strength and performance results can certainly fluctuate over time, and while certain results might be speedier at first, you're likely to encounter plateaus once your body adjusts and cannot achieve the same results. So, it's best to acknowledge the obstacles, keep your spirits lifted, perhaps try new exercises to shake things up, and be patient. You should also check in with other lifestyle factors: sleep, diet, and stress. These factors could be contributing and stopping you from achieving results.
Having a positive attitude when it comes to working out is really the key towards reaching success, finding activities you look forward to each day, and forming a healthy, habit long-term. Tell yourself you are working out to better your body, mind, and overall wellbeing. Reward yourself with the positive feelings and health benefits of physical activity. You deserve it.
Helpful Resources from Move Your Way
Move Your Way Activity Planner
Use this planner to set goals, choose activities you want to do, and get tips to help you stay motivated. When you’re done, print your plan to track activity throughout the week.
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