Study after study has shown that regular physical activity -- even at moderate levels -- enhances physical and mental conditioning, while reducing the risk of heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure and obesity. But unfortunately, many Americans still choose a sedentary lifestyle. Here are some tips to encourage you to get off the couch:
- Find something you enjoy. Keep experimenting until you find an activity that moves you, both mentally and physically. If you don't like what you're doing, you won't be motivated to keep it up. If you're not sure what you like, explore: Take a dance class, hike in some nearby mountains, or try a spinning class.
- Set goals. Write down your goals, reviewing them often. But be realistic. If you've started out walking for 10 minutes, don't aim to run a marathon in three months. Set goals that are specific, measurable, and time bound to encourage action.
- Exercise in the morning. Statistics show that people are more likely to stick with a fitness program if they exercise first thing in the morning. Exercising at the beginning of the day provides a jumpstart to your morning, and you don't have to worry about something coming up later in the day to sidetrack your evening workout plans.
- Schedule your workouts. Make exercise as high priority as a doctor's appointment or a business lunch. Sit down with a calendar and your planner a week or more in advance and schedule your exercise sessions around your other obligations. As you would if you had to cancel a meeting or appointment, reschedule your exercise sessions. You and your health are worth it!
- Reward yourself. Reward yourself as you complete smaller goals to motivate you to stay on track toward larger goals. When you can complete a 30-minute walk on the treadmill or do 10 push-ups, for example, reward yourself with a new CD or T-shirt. When you've stayed with the program for 12 weeks, get a new pair of sneakers.
- Abandon the all-or-nothing approach. Don't have an hour to exercise? Try 30 minutes. It's better than nothing, and your body will still reap the rewards of a shorter workout.
If you are having trouble starting or keeping up those good workout habits, call Fitness Together in Newtonville for one-on-one support of your fitness goals. Our trainers will hold you accountable and get you jump-started on the road to fitness. Call 617-965-0412 to set up a consultation or look for the "free session" button on our website at www.fitnesstogether.com/newtonville.