Well, it’s almost that time of year again. Nope, not the holiday season; we’re talking about Resolution Season. Gyms, exercise studios, and health food stores brace themselves for the influx of those whose New Year’s resolutions bring them through the doors, hoping to find better health. And what does that mean for you? All of a sudden, come the first week of January, it’s harder to find a parking space, perhaps harder to schedule sessions with your trainer, and harder to get the needed elbow room for your workouts.
If you find yourself in the category of those hoping to get your exercise motivation rekindled after the start of 2017, good for you. Making a positive choice for your health is always a worthwhile endeavor. However, we’d like to encourage you to get started NOW, rather than wait until January.
- You’ll get a head start. Starting or rekindling an exercise habit has its share of bumps. Most people fall off the Healthy Living Wagon (sometimes face-first into a pint of ice cream) a few times before developing a routine that sticks. If you start now, you’ll be well on your way to meeting your health goals (and swimming suit-ready come spring and summer) while the New Year’s resolution folks are still teetering on that wagon.
- Less collateral damage. You know what we’re talking about; Cookies. Huge holiday dinners. Fried mozzarella sticks at the company holiday party. Festive cocktails. Heaven help you, your mom’s peanut butter balls. Holidays aren’t holidays unless you indulge a little, right? It turns out that starting a healthy routine of cardio exercise and weight lifting now can pay off in the future. This is because muscle that you build during exercise actually burns more calories than fat. Plus, the cardio you do can have an “afterburn” effect, raising your metabolism for hours after you stop exercising.
- Working up a sweat now = less sweating the small stuff. If there’s ever a time when you could use the therapeutic, stress-busting benefits of exercise, isn’t it right now? Being able to walk away from the card-addressing, shopping, baking, and cooking for an hour or so to sweat it out at the studio with your trainer can be very rewarding. Exercise actually reduces stress hormones and produces endorphins, which are your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters. Plus exercise can improve your confidence (hello, holiday party) and help you sleep better (for those not-so-silent nights).
- The most wonderful time of the year . . . or not. If we’re going to be honest, there are many folks for whom the holidays and other winter holidays can bring about some melancholy, sadness, or downright depression. Either because of sad memories, or the heightened level of commercialism, or even the decreased presence of natural sunlight, for some, the holidays just stinks. If this is you, then exercise is about to become your best friend. Exercise has a way of forcing us to focus our thoughts outward, to the physical task we’re doing. Plus, exercise has been shown and proven in studies to reduce feelings of depression by producing feel-good hormones and reducing immune system chemicals that can make depression worse.