If one of your goals for the New Year is to work on improving your health, you must include regular exercise. If exercising more this year is not on your to-do list - add it. Exercise is not optional. If you're interested in being healthy, you have to be physically active. If you're not already exercising regularly then it’s time to work this into your routine.
Let’s get you started:
Step 1: Make a Commitment to Becoming Healthier
Write down your reasons for adopting a healthier lifestyle and regular exercise program. There are lots of them, and I'm sure you have at least one. Here are some examples: to lose weight, increase strength, improve flexibility, be a role model for your kids, naturally maintain blood sugar levels, manage stress, eliminate medications, balance hormones, increase life expectancy, to age well, play sports again, reduce risk of heart disease, lower cholesterol, etc. etc. etc.
Step 2: Work Out a Schedule
Get organized and work out a routine. Take a look at your schedule each week and block off 3 hours of time to be physically active. Decide whether weekday mornings or evenings work best, or if weekends are an option. Be realistic, don't plan to get up at 5am each morning if you're not generally a morning person.
Step 3: Just Do It!
Nike is right - figure out what kind of physical activity you'd like to do and go for it.
Step 4: Work Past Obstacles
At some point, most people look for reasons not to follow through with their commitment to exercise. Address these reasons as they come up - and review your initial reasons for starting to exercise. If you've fallen off track, don't worry about it and don't give up! Just start over again - there's no such thing as failure.
Here are a few common excuses for not exercising:
"I don't have the time"
- Really? There are 168 hours in a week - you can find 3 hrs to exercise. How much time are you spending on the computer or watching TV? No matter how little time you think you have, there is someone busier than you finding the time to exercise. Make it a priority.
"I can't afford it"
There are lots of free activities that you can do - walking, push-ups, stair climbing, and stretching are free.
"I don't really care"
Well, you need to. If you have a family, you owe it to them to take care of yourself. And if you have kids, you owe it to them to set a good example. If you want your kids to be healthy, you have to model it for them.
"I don't like exercise"
Try to find some activity that you do like, or at least make it a social event by exercising with friends. And if you still don't like it well, too bad. You need to exercise to be healthy.
"I'm a lost cause"
Never. No matter what stage you're at, exercise can benefit you in so many ways. If there was a pill that could do all that exercise can, it would be called a miracle drug.
Do your best! Even a small amount of physical activity on a regular basis is beneficial. Health Canada recommends 2.5 hrs of moderate intensity activity each week. So get moving!
For more information on Dr. Janice Davie, BHSc, ND