Many people take a look at their physical exercise regimens this time of year. Some for weight loss, some to feel better in the new year, some to get back on track after a crazy holiday season, and some just for overall health purposes!
Exercise is something that is easy to put off because many of us have sedentary jobs, or work schedules that take up a great portion of our time and energy. You could argue life was healthier back when humans had to wash clothes by hand, hunt our own food, and walk everywhere we went – these simpler times FORCED exercise into our daily habits. With modern technology and other conveniences available to us today, we have to be more creative! But it’s possible. Check out some ideas below:
I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but park at the back of the lot! Those extra steps into your building or the store will add up over the week! Also, I don’t know about you, but it seems to me that the drivers are crazier and crazier out there! I go straight for the open spaces in the back so I don’t have to compete with the craziness. Opt for the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator. Can you bike to work? Walk to work? Take a walk on your lunch break instead of playing a game on your phone?! Take your dog on an extra walk each day. Don’t have a dog? Take your son or daughter on a walk, or spend some quality time with your husband or wife on a walk or jog and share each other’s days. Try out that hike you’ve been meaning to go on! Or that new fitness class you’ve seen advertised! Working out as a group can be very helpful for some! Try out a Fitbit or pedometer! You’d be surprised how much keeping track of your steps can be a motivator! Challenge a friend or family member to a “steps” goal! Want to start running but don’t know where to start? Check out this COUCH to 5K program that gets you there!
Some people just don’t have the drive to exercise and move more. Here are some reasons you should find the motivation:
*Just 8 minutes of exercise has more mental health benefit than one anti-depressant pill. If you can look me in the eye and tell me you don’t have an extra 8 minutes in your day, I will look right back and tell you you’re lying. . . Or kidding yourself.
*Your heart is a muscle, and like any other muscle, the “use it or lose it” principle applies: Keep your heart healthy and beating strong for a long, healthy life by challenging it and using it! Blood carries nutrients and oxygen to all the cells in your body… I’d say that’s an important muscle to keep active!
*As we age, many worry about bone health and bone density. Did you know bones stay strong and dense when TENSILE forces are applied to it? This means the muscles that pull on the bone are what drive the bones to stay healthy and strong. So movement and exercise are the best way to keep your bones healthy (sorry, dairy lovers – it’s not about how much milk you drink!)
*Exercise is a known stress reducer. This is on a macro and micro level: Mentally, it clears stress and improves focus. Cellularly, it reduces inflammation and stress damage. It also uses up sugar that is travelling through the blood waiting to provide us with energy, that otherwise has the potential to be turned into fat or damage our arteries.
The bottom line is, which direction are you headed? In a better or worse direction than you were last week, month or year? Exercise isn’t all about losing weight or getting a six pack. It’s about adding years to your life and staying healthy for your loved ones. No matter your age, you can improve your fitness and meet an exercise goal. Every little bit helps, and I know you can do it! Ask us if you have questions or need help!
Happy New Year!
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