by Rachel Carlson
When life gets busy, a good exercise routine can fall by the wayside. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways you can make physical activity a part of everyday life — sometimes without going to the gym! Read on to discover just a handful of ways you can make small adjustments to your day so that you never miss a workout again.
Find Exercise in Everyday Activities
Reviews of elliptical trainers suggest that they can be a great way to burn calories and get in shape, but they are not the only method for achieving physical fitness. Back in 2002, the New England Journal of Medicine published the results of a study which compared the fitness results of test subjects who only walked a bit extra every day to those who performed a set exercise program. The scientists discovered that the walkers got just as much benefit taking their exercise in small, manageable pieces as did the people who adhered to a schedule. Hence, it doesn’t matter if you exercise for one hour, or in fifteen minute increments. What really matters is the total amount of exercise you get.
Bryan Bordeaux, D.O., from Johns Hopkins University recommends taking a different approach to your everyday activities. He recommends using the stairs in your home as a means of exercise and also points out that things like yard work and house cleaning can actually burn a significant amount of calories. Bordeaux also suggests finding small opportunities for walking throughout the day. For instance, park farther away from your office and consider walking instead of driving to perform errands. You might also pass up the elevator in favor of taking the stairs. Any of these methods can get your heart rate up and burn calories.
Set Goals to Improve Fitness
Another important strategy for physical fitness is setting goals. The America On the Move Foundation cites goal-setting as being among the most important components of exercise. Begin by setting ultimate goals such as: IÃd like to lose twenty pounds or I’d like to put on ten pounds of muscle. To achieve them, you should also set incremental goals that will put you on the right track. You might decide to take 2,500 more steps every day and resolve to eat an apple as a morning snack instead of a Danish. Once you’re achieving these incremental goals on regularly, you can up the ante by adding another 500 steps every day, adding some light weight training, and having a salad with dinner every night. Achieving even these small goals will give you a sense of accomplishment and spur you on to the next level.
Keep Motivation Running High
Even with the best of intentions, we sometimes feel our motivation to be fit and active slipping away. Without realizing it, we begin to slide back into spending evenings on the couch with the television, without giving a thought to perhaps stretching or using a cardio machine while we watch.
The good news is that there are lots of strategies that can help you keep the importance of your fitness goals in mind. Certified fitness trainer Cindy Brotherston believes that people are motivated to exercise either through fear factors or positive motivations. Fear factors might relate to disease statistics, spending the balance of your life in debilitating health circumstances or finding yourself in danger of an early, preventable death. Positive motivation factors might include things like setting and achieving goals and using results of a workout program to help maintain inspiration. She also recommends taking a photograph of yourself before beginning an exercise program and then taking a further photograph several weeks in to see what kind of progress you’ve made. Noting any positive results can definitely supply you with any missing motivation.
Brotherson also recommends finding a reliable workout buddy who can give you external motivation to keep going with your fitness routine. When you know that someone else is counting on you to show up for a morning workout, it can definitely get you up out of bed and moving. Doing something you like can also help keep motivation high. Focus on fun-for-you sports like tennis, hiking at a nearby lake, or taking your dog for an extra long walk to keep moving toward your fitness goals.
Start Healthy Habits
Once you’ve resolved to live a healthier life, it’s important to begin in small increments. Cutting out every bad habit at once in a cold turkey fashion can actually be a good way to sabotage your efforts. Start by making a list of everything you’d like to either cut out or change. Your list might include things like walking to the store, eating four servings of fruits and vegetables every day, or giving up dessert three times a week. The list can be as long and detailed as you would like, but the important thing is to tackle one item at a time. Make each item on your list the focus of a week or perhaps even two. Once it begins to feel like a comfortable part of your routine, cut out something else or work on picking up a new healthy habit.
WebMD.com reports that changing even one factor for living a healthier life, like eating breakfast every morning, can significantly increase your ability to live a meaningful, active life. Involve your whole family in your healthful efforts by preparing a health-conscious dinner together on a Saturday night or spending Sunday on a long family bike ride. As a family, brainstorm for extra ways you can all get healthy and active together.
Make it Fun
Wellness expert Dr. Andrew Weil stresses the importance of making exercise fun in order to make it work for you. After all, when you enjoy your workouts, you’re more like to keep up with your routine. However, we all have a tendency to want to avoid certain exercises. Maybe you think developing upper body strength is no fun, for instance. Instead of avoiding weight training, try focusing on it instead. You have an opportunity to make significant progress and make this aspect of your workout a favorite by improving your performance.
When the routine starts to seem stale, change things up by adding a new twist. Purchase exercise bands, a new fitness DVD, or a exercise ball. Challenge yourself with a new class at the gym or resolve to change that one part of your body that you’ve always wished was different. Believe it or not, you are in charge and you can make a difference when it comes to your physical fitness.
Rachel Carlson is a writer and student that works from home. While she spends a lot of her time writing, she also helps different companies like Clear Wireless with gaining exposure through various blogs and websites. She has recently started a new Twitter account and is finally going to give it a real shot. She can be followed at @carlson_rachel.
–ME “Liz” Strauss
Work with Liz on your business!!