Leah had a challenge that was more common than she knew. Leah hated to exercise. She had never experienced the ‘runners high’ or the adrenaline rush that often accompanies physical exertion. Therefore, when she was in weight loss mode, she would force herself to engage in exercise, as well as eating a certain way, long enough to get to the desired number on the scale and then resort back to her routine behaviors. Needless to say, she struggled to make the results stick. Do you face a similar challenge? If so, read on.
After all, you can’t have a healthy lifestyle without copious amounts of exercise, right? While physical activity certainly helps when trying to be healthier, there limitless ways to get moving without the dreaded ‘workout’. It’s important to understand that engaging in physical activity, of any intensity and duration, has far reaching benefits.
There is something to be said for getting yourself moving first thing in the morning. Research shows that as little as 5-10 minutes of high intensity movement rewards you with significant cardiovascular, mental and emotional benefits. Any kind of physical activity that gets your heart pumping, increases oxygen flow to your entire body, improving your energy level, mental acuity, and hormone levels.
If you knew you could increase your energy level 20 percent from exercising as little as 20 minutes, 3 times a week, would you be willing to try it out for yourself?
The trick to adding physical activity to your life, as a long-term lifestyle behavior, is to start with what you know. First and foremost, do you have any physical limitations that will determine what activity you are able to do? If so, what CAN you do? If you have not been physically active on a regular basis, perhaps beginning with a recreational activity that you enjoy is the best place to begin. There is no need to start with a ‘formal’ workout, if that is not already part of your routine. While Leah was definitely thinking exercise was necessary to hit her weight loss goals, the more important benefit was having the stamina necessary to hike with her family in the mountains. She knew she would enjoy this much more if she was in better shape. She knew she was not likely to workout consistently at home. If she went to a gym or a class, it had to be close to home, no longer than an hour workout, and not set her up for idle chit chat following the workout. After experimenting with several nearby classes, she found a something that worked for her.
Coming up short of thinking of where to start experimenting. Below is a list of suggestions. Please comment below if you have a routine habit that works for you. Others may find it works for them as well:
Fitocracy – Make fitness a game by completing and logging free workouts to earn points. View your progress on interactive charts, and get daily support and motivation from the online community.
4×50 – Catch your second wind in a snap by completing 50 reps of any 4 exercises. Do the reps in increments of 10, and choose a routine that targets different body parts – upper body, lower body, core, or total body exercises. This also works with any 4 cardio exercises.
SWORKIT – Design 5- to 60-minute custom workouts from more than 170 exercises that include strength, stretching, cardio, yoga and pilates. No equipment needed. Track your progress using Apple Health, Google Fit and MyFitness PAL apps.
Johnson & Johnson 7-Minute Workout – Tailor a workout to your fitness and motivation levels, choosing from more than 72 exercises and 1000 workout combinations. No equipment needed. Great for a full body workout in a short amount of time. Or repeat as many cycles as you like to lengthen the workout.
10,000 Steps a day – Track your steps with a simple pedometer, any number of smart phone apps, or a device like the Fitbit.
Livestrong.com – Browse the FITNESS tab for workouts that fit your goals. My favorites include the 15-minute Workout for Beginners, the Booty Blasting Workout, the Sleek and Sexy Arm Workout, and the Stronger series by Nicky Hollander.
You Tube – Experiment with an unlimited supply of videos ranging in genre (including cardio, toning, boot camp, yoga and dance), intensity (from beginner to advanced), and time. . For an easy way to get started, check out this Jenna Wolfe video to see just how easy it can be.
Have fun mixing it up. There is not a ‘one size fits all’. Engage a friend or family member as an accountability partner. Put a system in place for regular physical activity knowing you can adjust your plan when necessary. When introducing new behaviors, flying by the seat of your pants is not the most efficient means to turn the behaviors into habit…and ultimately, a non-negotiable part of your healthy routine.
If you are interested in more support in adding healthy lifestyle behavior changes into your routine, please contact me at: Melissa.Healy@MelissaHealyCoaching.com or simply schedule a complimentary consult at: https://calendly.com/melissa-healy/45-minute-consult.