We lead busy lives these days. Our days are filled with the workplace and evenings are spent with the families and doing household chores. Add in kids and you don’t even have time to pamper yourselves, let alone fit in an exercise routine. And if there comes a time when you actually have a free moment to catch your breath, we are typically too exhausted to even think about moving a muscle. I’m going to be blunt here – exercise is necessary for a long and healthy life.
Face it. You can’t watch the news or even flip through a magazine without being shown a so-called miracle diet or the potential health risks associated with obesity. We see celebrity endorsements for appetite suppressants, fat blockers and other weight loss products. Everywhere we look we are reminded how out of shape and overweight we have become. As harsh of a reality as it may be for some, it’s the bold faced truth. Weight matters. It plays a huge role in the future plans we have made as we age and our metabolism slows.
The benefits of exercise far outweigh the consequences of an unhealthy lifestyle. Not only do we look and feel better, exercise helps decrease bone and joint problems, increases strength and endurance levels and lessens the potential for life-threatening medical conditions. Research shows that just 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day can have a significant impact on overall health and wellness.
Decide on an Exercise Program
What is moderate exercise? This type of regimen brings your pulse rate to a targeted zone (see: Target heart rate calculator) for at least 30 minutes through physical activity. This doesn’t mean you need to over exert yourself and sweat buckets in order to achieve the targeted pulse, and you should still be able to talk while exercising.
Once you get past the hurdle of establishing a moderate cardio exercise program you can add in strength training. First and foremost you need to warm-up. Strength training is a series of exercises, or sets, designed to build strength. In the beginning you can start with 3 sets of 12-15 repetitions for each type of exercise. Design your strength training to hit a target muscle group with each session. One day you might work on the upper body, rest a day and then work on the upper body during the next session. And like any exercise program you need to stretch when you are finished.
Setting a goal for your program is a great way to keep you on the right track. If your main goal is weight loss, keep a diary and make a log each week of how much weight you have lost. Likewise, if your main goal is in reducing size and toning up you can take measurements of the target areas. If your exercise program is by recommendation of your doctor or physician, he/she will likely schedule follow-up appointments to see progress and address any additional concerns.
In a world filled with modes of instant gratification we condition ourselves to expect instant results, even when exercise is concerned. This isn’t an overnight miracle. It wasn’t overnight your body became overweight and out of shape, so it’s a fair assumption getting back into shape is going to take some time. Here are some ways to help keep you motivated and stay on the right track:
- Finding Ways to Fit in ExerciseHave a workout partner. When you and a friend make the commitment to exercise on a regular basis it’s much harder to cancel or find a reason not to show up.
- Try different routines. You’ll be less likely to get bored with your routine if you spice it up every once in a while.
- Keep health and wellness reading material handy. These types of magazines and websites have great articles on new workout methods. You’ll find a plethora of information on how to effectively add or change your routine to fit your needs.
- Continue trying on that little black dress you love so much but can’t really fit into right now. This is a great tool to keep your goals at the forefront of your mind and see progress.
- Create an alternate routine for rainy days. Exercising outdoors is great, but what will you do when the rain is pouring down or you can’t find your porch under all the snow? Also, if you primarily workout in your home, design a plan to get out of the house from time to time.
- Test the time slot. Mornings are better for some and evenings are better for others. Lunchtime exercise is also another alternative. When you test the time slots you’ll find the best time of the day for you.
- Make smart choices. Eat a sensible diet and add in extra modes of exercise when appropriate; take the stairs, walk the dog, play tag outside with the kids. The idea is to stay motivated. Once you get used to the great feeling of moving that body you won’t want to sit still!