by LynnAnn Covell, Fitness Manager & L.I.F.E. Coach, and Lori Wright, Fitness Leader, Green Mountain at Fox Run
If you spend a lot of time thinking about what you “should” be doing when it comes to exercise, chances are you’re not doing much. Sometimes it’s just a matter of getting started. Try these 10 tips to kick start your fitness routine.
1. Give up all-or-nothing thinking
Instead of over-committing yourself and feeling like you need an hour or more at the gym, adopt a “something-is-better-than-nothing” fitness attitude. Do any amount of exercise that leaves you feeling refreshed and with a sense of wellbeing. Your body and mind will love you for it.
2. Know thyself
Are you a morning or evening person? If your energy is higher in the morning, get going before the day gets away from you. If you’re more of a night owl, work in movement then. You want to work with your energy flow, not against it.
3. Treat yourself
Start by defining what you want to accomplish with fitness in the form of a S.M.A.R.T goal (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Reasonable, and Timely). When you achieve your goals, reward yourself with a massage, a new outfit, or a trip to the spa!
4. Keep it simple
Create your own bare-bones workout to do during high stress or limited time periods. For example, while you’re watching TV, you could do a series of push–ups , squats, calf raises, and/or toe raises.
5. Time it
Whether at work or home, set a small timer to go off once every hour. When it goes off, grab an exercise tube (easy to keep at the office) or weights and do 1-2 sets of one strength training exercise each time. Over the course of the day you’ll get a total body strength routine completed. Remember to stretch after each exercise!
When watching your favorite TV show and/or during commercial breaks, complete a total body stretching routine or work on core strengthening exercises.
7. Mix it up
Instead of going out for drinks or dinner every time you want to spend time with friends or family, try meeting for a walk or other activity.
8. Think of activity as dessert
Even if you enjoy a food dessert, add some activity for another one. Not to burn calories but to feel good. For example, instead of sitting after all of the upcoming holiday meals, go out for a walk with family and friends. What a treat to spend quality time with them and get what you need, too!
9. Clean it up
Outdoor chores count as activity so keep up with your fitness goals by raking your own leaves this fall, or shoveling the driveway or sidewalks during the winter.
10. Try the 3-lap rule
When holiday shopping at the mall, walk 3 laps, window shopping all the way, before buying anything. The best of both worlds!
Keep in mind, it’s really about the small steps approach, sometimes all it takes is to just get started. Then we feel better and more motivated to do more, or we may find that what we’re doing in our small steps is quite enough. At any level, enjoy. That’s the key to sustainability, whether it’s exercise, eating, or any other part of our self-care regimen.