Let’s face it, most of us know that exercise is essential to a healthy lifestyle because it can lower our risk for some diseases and boost our immune systems. Yet most of us still do not get the exercise we need, and many of us do not exercise at all. National Women’s Health Week is a “convenient excuse” to focus on how to make physical activity a priority and add more exercise to our busy lives.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services’ 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, adults should get at least 2 ½ hours of moderate-intensity or 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise each week. Additionally, they should do moderate- to high-intensity strength training at least two days per week. LINK: http://www.health.gov/paguidelines/pdf/paguide.pdf
There are many ways to incorporate more exercise into our lives. The good news is that it does not have to be a chore and we do not have to go it alone either. Incorporating exercise into our daily or weekly routine is easy to achieve and, believe it or not, can be fun, as well.
Get Started with these 10 Easy Steps:
#1: Pace Yourself
As with any endeavor, it is important that you start slowly and build up gradually. If you begin your new exercise regimen too hastily and with too much zeal, chances are that you are likely to burn out and run out of gas very soon. (I have actually encountered that problem many times.) Plan your exercise routine by slowly getting used to exercising as part of your daily or weekly routine. Start out with a few minutes each day just to get your mind and your body accustomed to what is taking place. All new change is usually met with resistance, no matter how well the intentions.
#2. Include Exercise on Your To Do List
We all know the power of the never-ending to-do list. If you add exercise onto that to-do list, you are more likely than not to adhere to accomplishing that task. Even if you have to put it in red pen, and add it to your calendar, make sure that you put it in writing. There is more of a commitment there when you put it down on paper.
#3. Make Yourself Accountable
Whether or not you will be joining a gym with a friend or going it alone, it is imperative to have an exercise accountability partner. Perhaps you could incorporate the help of a friend asking them to be your biggest cheerleader when you feel like you want to quit. Even better, ask another friend to be your coach and ask you some hard questions and give you some hard-line advice when you want to stop.
#4. Sign an Exercise Agreement
Even go as far as signing a contract with someone. Make an agreement with your accountability partner that you will exercise a certain number of times per week for a certain amount of time and sign on the dotted line. Make sure to incorporate some small repercussion, such as not going out to eat as a reward after you have reached your first milestone in order to make it worth your while to stick to your written word.
#5. Buy Yourself Some Motivation
A great way to get motivated before setting out to start a new exercise regiment is to buy a few new things to get you motivated as you begin. Some new exercise clothing or weights in a color you like might be a fun little way to get you motivated.
#6. Enlist an Exercise Buddy
Studies have shown that it is easier and more successful to have positive results in any new endeavor when you do it with a partner. According to www.sharecare.com, in an interesting study from Indiana University’s Department of Kinesiology, researchers found that spouses who worked out with their partners had a dropout rate of only 6.3 percent compared with spouses who worked out without their partners. The “single” exercising group had an astounding 43 percent dropout rate. Therefore, exercising with a partner benefits the mind, body, and spirit.
#7. Keep a Journal of Your Progress
A great way to see the effects of your new exercise routine is to journal as you go along. Perhaps you can make a journal entry of having a little bit more energy or self-confidence after your first week or two into your new exercise routine. A journal is a great way to measure your successes and to see where you fall short in other areas.
#8. Involve Your Family
Exercise does not have to be a chore. It can be a fun-filled adventure for the whole family, as well. Hiking, walking, and bicycling are just a few ways to incorporate the whole family into exercise. Zumba and gaming system exercises are great ways to incorporate exercise into your family and your lifestyle.
#9. Record Your Successes
Grab some colorful post-it notes and post your successes on your refrigerator. It is important to keep a record of your successes only. Even if there is no immediate weight loss or loss of inches in the beginning, keep a record stating that you did it for one whole week. Take your measurements regularly and chart your success.
#10. Establish a Reward in Advance
Make sure that you have a reward plan set up whether it is a pampering spa visit, a new little black dress or a meal out after your goal is reached and then continue to reward yourself periodically throughout the maintenance period thereafter.
Hopefully, by incorporating these tips into your daily or weekly exercise routines, you will be able to feel that exercise can be successful, fruitful, and rewarding all rolled into one.
Personally, I find that having an exercise buddy is the most effective and fun way to ensure that I exercise more often.
So what do you think? What steps work for you? What tips do you have for getting more exercise into your life? Share your suggestions with us.