Did you know that exercise is the most potent yet underutilized form of stress/depression/anxiety” medicine? It releases those “feel good” endorphins and can instantly improve your mood!
The American Heart Association recommends doing a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise five days per week while most people spend more than 30 minutes browsing social media. Ouch!
I’ve said it before that before I started exercising (after turning 40), I wanted to exercise and enjoy but could never just start. I wanted to be fit but didn’t know what to do and honestly didn’t feel like I actually could.
Here are some tips to help you get started:
- Start slowly. My mantra has been and still is, “slow and steady wins the race”. If you’ve never exercised before, you can’t expect to run a marathon next week! Start gradually and focus on increasing your time. For example, start with 10 minutes a day of walking….that could be to your mailbox, to the lamppost down the street then each week increase your time, intensity and/or distance. Get it?
- See how you can ‘sneak’ in exercise throughout your day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, go for a walk during your lunch hour or break time, do yard work or play a game of basketball with the kids. Start your day with the mindset of how you can be active during your day, plan it and then actually do it.
- Choose something you like to do. If you don’t like the treadmill then don’t do it! lol Find an activity you enjoy doing and start there. Make sure it suits you physically as well. If you suffer from knee problems, then avoid running or jumping and consider swimming instead.
- Workout with a friend or partner. Exercising with someone else can not only make it more fun, but offer you support and accountability too. There are also lots of exercises you can do that are buddy workout![youtube]https://youtu.be/mSBdW4rd3_Q[/youtube]
- Vary your routine. If you’re like me and get bored easily, don’t be afraid to try new things….walk, swim, bike, etc. Whatever works best for you.
- Schedule it. We’ve all heard it preached many times over that if you don’t schedule it then it won’t happen. Be realistic with your schedule also so schedule it when it’s a good time for you and you know you can set aside 30 minutes to actually get it done.
- Take rest days. Don’t go all out too soon. Rest days are needed to repair our body but also to keep us from experiencing burn out. Schedule your rest days too and enjoy the day off. If you get where you’re dreading the exercise, you know it’s time for a break.
- Use a pedometer or a Fitbit. I’m a gadget nerd and I like watching my numbers. It sets a standard not with anyone else, but for myself and pushes me each time I workout. I also like seeing what I’m accomplishing too. It also keeps you aware of your movement during the day and will prompt you to move if you’ve been sitting still for too long. hah!
- Keep a journal of your progress. Are you walking further? Faster? Are you lifting more or heavier? You get the idea. It keeps you motivated but also focused on the goals you’re trying to reach.
- Hire a trainer! Hiring a trainer can write out a program for you specific to you (not necessarily a cookie cutter plan), help you stay on track, offer your support and a clear direction of exactly what to do and help you prevent injury. 🙂
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Consider how exercising could improve your health, your body, your mood and your overall quality of life….and remember, there’s no activity that’s not enough!