Studies suggest most of us exercise to lose weight. Though exercise is an important element of any weight loss program, it offers many more benefits then just fitting into our favorite pair of jeans. Regular exercise combats a number of health conditions including heart disease, Type II diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Regular physical activity has been found to reduce the incidence of breast and colon cancer. It is also known to improve sleep habits, lift moods and decrease the rate of functional decline associated with aging. Given the positive impact it is no wonder exercise has been called the best medicine available. So now that we all agree exercise should be a mainstay of our daily lives, how do we go about making that concept a reality? Here are five tips to help you stick to your workout program:
The best exercise is the one you will do. Sure you burn more calories per hour running than walking but if you hate to run it’s is more likely you will choose to sit on the couch then go for a jog. If you love to dance Sign up for a salsa class. Are you an avid golfer? Walk the course. People stop exercising for two reasons: boredom and injury. So find and activity you enjoy and you are more likely to stick with it. Remember you can’t go from couch potato to Olympic athlete in a week. Avoid injury by starting your program at a comfortable exertional level and gradually building up over time. Finally, don't be afraid to mix it up with a variety of activities. Cross training can combat boredom and reduce risk of injury.
- Get a partner. It is easy to talk yourself out of a workout, but disappointing someone else - no one wants to do that! An exercise buddy keeps you accountable and is a good source of encouragement and support. No exercise inclined friends or family members? Group classes at the gym, local clubs, or even involving the family dog in daily walks can be equally effective. Post your plan and progress on Facebook account. Imagine 100s of your friends "liking" your accomplishments.
- Track your progress. An exercise journal can be as simple as noting the activity and duration on a calendar. Looking for a high tech solution? Download an exercise log app to your mobile device. Fleetly Fitness and RunKeeper are two of the many available apps that records your progress, helps to set goals, provides sample workouts and offers a community of like-minded participants. Whatever means you chose, an exercise log lets you keep track of the big picture and celebrate your accomplishments.
- Schedule your workouts. Just like any other important appointment, put your workout on your calendar. By setting aside time for exercise you can avoid the stress of trying to fit one more thing into your already over-crowded schedule and avoid the temptation to skip a workout because you "ran out of time.”
- Set a goal. Whether it is your first 10K race, hiking through Yosemite or biking a 100 miles, setting a goal and working towards it is a great way to stay motivated. There are a number on line resources that offer free training guides to help you get started including Runner’s World which offer race plans ranging from 10k a to marathon distance. Your goal should be a challenge but attainable. And be sure when you reach your goal to reward yourself and set new one.
So what are you waiting for? Find your passion and start moving! Remember, there is no better gift you can give yourself then health and fitness. © GLOW Skin Revived and GLOW Skin Revived blog, 2011-2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to GLOW Skin Revived and the GLOW Skin Revived blog, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content