Top ways to get moving and feel great this season! By Jillian Chandler
When it comes to exercise, not everyone is excited to get up early—especially when it’s still dark out—to take some time to get moving. But, making a conscious decision to dedicate some time throughout the day, whether it’s first thing in the morning, during your lunch break, or at the end of the day, is imperative to a healthy mind and body. And, the good news is, there are countless ways that you can exercise your body; you just need to find the fit that works best for you.
Stretching. Though we all know that stretching our bodies helps to release tension in our bodies and stress in our minds, many of us fail to make it a priority. Make it a point to wake up just five to 10 minutes earlier to allow your day to begin with some gentle stretching. Focus on the major areas of your body, holding each stretch for 30 seconds, and avoid bouncing. From increasing your flexibility, range of motion, and blood flow to your muscles, to improving posture, relieving stress and calming your mind, taking the time to stretch is a no-brainer.
Walking. Whether you prefer to stay indoors and set your pace on the treadmill, or long to get outdoors and take advantage of your neighborhood sidewalks or hiking trails while breathing in the fresh air, there is no excuse not to get your body moving by simply walking. From walking the dog in the morning, utilizing your lunch break to walk around your office building or to your favorite lunch spot, or taking an evening stroll with the family after dinner, walking is ideal for all fitness levels. And, before you know it, you may find yourself jogging and running!
Cardio. If you're already stretching and walking throughout the day, you're ready to add in some cardio. Important in maintaining a well-balanced workout program, you can choose from "steady-state" cardio (in which you maintain a steady pace, whether jogging or cycling), or "interval-based" (alternating between intense exercise periods of one to two minutes and lower intensity periods ranging from two to four minutes, depending on the workout).
Strength Training. The best workout routines combine a variety of components, including strength training. And don’t worry! Lifting weights isn’t just to “bulk” up; strength training, also known as weight training or resistance training, aids in building lean, strong muscles, strengthening bones and joints, and in keeping your metabolism going strong. Forget the deadlifts with those barbells that weigh more than you do! Light handheld weights, resistance bands, even the resistance of your own body weight, all work great for you to reap the many health benefits.
Workout/Fitness Class. If you find yourself lacking motivation, and you enjoy getting out and being around others, you might benefit most from taking part in a class. Whether you prefer yoga or Pilates, Zumba or step, barre or spin, there are options for every interest. And no matter your fitness level, you can work out at your own pace and ability. And, you don’t have to go to the gym! There are many classes offered virtually, where you can take part from the comfort of home.
Mini Workouts. There are only so many hours in the day, and many of us have our plates full between work, family and children, extracurriculars, and of course the daily cooking, cleaning and household chores. We often wonder, "How does anyone have time to work out?" There's a solution—mini workouts. If you don't have a good chunk of time to take from your day to get some physical activity in, opt to spread out several small workouts throughout the day. Simple and quick, you can opt to pick up those free weights and get in some reps, take a jog around the block, get some lunges, squats and sit-ups in. There’s really no excuse. Step-By-Step
Time to Get Started
1. Pick a start date. The date doesn't need to be significant, but starting the new week off with a plan of action is motivation to begin.
2. Start slowly. To begin, choose just one new activity to start, and schedule a time that will work for you and your schedule ... and stick to it!
3. Follow through. Whether it's that morning stretch or mid-day walk, stay consistent, persevere, and before you know it, you will have created a habit that's easy to maintain.