Creating Time to Exercise
We all know that exercise is extremely important to our long term health, mental outlook, energy levels and weight management. However, it can be one of the first things to go when we become busy, travel or that we have never made time for in the first place because….(fill in the blank) :-)
Like any good health habit, it’s what we do consistently, and especially when we’re the “busiest”, that has the most impact on our wellness.
So, what can you do to make exercise a fun part of your life – no matter what is going on in your life?
- Do something that you LOVE. If you detest running, for goodness sake, don’t run! :-) Dancing, rollerblading, Pilates, bike riding, etc. all count as exercise. In addition, try new exercise formats so you don’t get bored. Exercise should be always be FUN, not tedious.
- You don’t have to be a “gym rat” to get results from exercising. Five times per week for 30 min provides great health benefits. If you’re new to exercise, start off with 3 days per week at 30 min…and gradually increase frequency, duration and intensity. Slowly build.Fit, active adults – 6 times per week for 60 min. Always take 1 day off per week – this is absolutely crucial as this is how the body repairs itself and gets stronger.
- >Mix it up. Variety is key for the body, mind and soul. My “rule” for exercise variety is 3 Cardio, 2 Weights and 1 Mind/Body per week. Women – weight training is so important for bone health, metabolism and weight management. Weights help keep you toned, fit and lean. If you are new to weights – start with a class, DVD or hire a personal trainer for 6 sessions at a gym (they aren’t as expensive as you may think and will “de-mystify” weights and help you with correct form).Below are some ideas for Cardio, Weights and Mind/Body Fitness. Adjust for how many times a week you are exercising.
- cardio classes – walking/running, kickboxing, swimming, aerobics, dance, ZUMBA :-), roller blading, etc.
- 1-2 Weight Training – classes, gym, videos
- 1 Mind-Body-Spirit Class for stretching/flexibility, etc. – choose from yoga, Pilates, etc.
- 1 Day off
- Schedule your workout time and make it non-negotiable. Put the “oxygen mask” on yourself first – your family, business/job and friends will benefit from your new found energy, immune system and outlook on life :-) Decide when you like exercising and when you are most likely to go. For example, I love exercising in the morning (my energy/motivation is at it’s highest then). I also know if I don’t exercise in the am, I won’t do it later on in the day because I get “busy” AND don’t seem to have the same energy/motivation to go. After deciding what is best for your body, “schedule” at least 5 times per week (3 if you’re new, 6 if you’re fit) in your calendar every Sunday night for the following week. Treat your “appointment” like a wonderful restaurant reservation that took you months to make :-)
- Set yourself up to succeed. Have your gym bag ready, clothes inside, water bottle filled etc. For example, I usually go to the gym or teach a class around 9am. If I am rushing around in the morning, I end up out the door without something I need, or worse, I’m late. So, knowing my personality, I now get my gym bag ready the night before, water bottle filled – so I’m out the door when I need to be, with no excuses, on time and with everything I need :-)
- Make working out something you look forward to. Have great music on your iPod. If you’re bored of your gym routine or running – get new music! Wear gym outfits (www.lululemon.com is my favorite) that you LOVE, are excited to wear and make you feel good when you’re exercising. Your body is what you will live in for years and years – enjoy it, love it, celebrate it :-)
- Subscribe to a fitness magazine for inspiration, new ideas, health recipes, playlists, fitness clothing suggestions etc. My two favorites are Shape and Oxygen. For $14 per year, they so incredibly worth it.
- Get an exercise buddy. Research shows that we are more likely to exercise with a friend – it keeps us accountable, is more fun and builds friendships.
- Set little goals and rewards (non food) for going to the gym (or exercising) 5 times per week…(or whatever your goal is). Reward yourself for little things – every little step counts.
- Don’t let more than 2 days go by without exercising. I don’t know where I heard that idea, but it is one of the best concepts I have used throughout the years. I started exercising to “aerobics videos” in the 80’s (scary thought – remember those brightly colored leotards?) when I was 14 and since then, it became my “rule” for myself. It helps because you never get out of the rhythm of exercising and often when we don’t feel like exercising, it’s when we need to the most. Movement SHIFTS everything, and quickly – moods, emotions, an over indulgent night of food/wine :-)… and you end up feeling great.
- Maintain your routine when it is the hardest as this is when you will get the most benefit. When we travel, visit friends/family, or are really busy – it’s even more important to exercise and eat well (take your USANA vits and shakes/bars even more regularly). When our normal routine is interrupted, endeavor to keep as many good habits going as possible. For example, when traveling, I usually run (20 min only sometimes) because I can do it anywhere/anytime and very quickly. Or, I lift weights if there is a gym where I am staying. I know this “routine” helps keep me balanced and centered – and everything else works better. Other options – walk with a family member after dinner when visiting, swim in the hotel pool, travel with yoga/Pilates DVD’s. Shorten your exercise time if need be, but keep the routine going.
Have a great week and your body will thank you for moving! As NIA’s (a beautiful dance modality I used to teach before Zumba®) tagline says, through movement we find health!
Be Happy… Be Vibrant…