“For those who don’t make time for exercise, they’ll have to make time for illness.” – Edward Stanley
Physical activity is any body movement that works your muscles and requires more energy than resting.
Physical activity is usually made to seem too complex. For most people exercise means workouts involving gyms, equipment, and special clothing. However, the real key to success is changing your lifestyle by increasing your general level of activity throughout the day.
The tips below can help you learn how to become more physically active and enjoy exercising.
1. IF YOU’RE JUST STARTING OUT, GO SLOW. Focus on just getting moving and enjoying the activity. Start with 5-10 minutes. Build up with small steps. To improve health you need to do a total of 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day – just make sure to do at least 10 minutes of an activity at a time. If your goal is to lose weight you need to work up to 45-60 minutes, and if you want to maintain weight loss then 60-90 minutes of exercise will help. If you experience certain health issues, ask your physician what type and amount of physical activity is right for you.
2. MAKE TIME IN YOUR DAY FOR A PHYSICAL ACTIVITY. If you find it difficult to be active after work, try it before work or use your lunch break (visit gym and then go for a lunch, if there is some time flexibility, or at least opt for a more distant restaurant for your lunch and do a brisk walk to get there instead of slogging to the eating place around the corner).
3. If you can’t find time for exercise or you don’t like to workout, CHOOSE AN ACTIVITY THAT FITS INTO YOUR DAILY LIFE: take your dog on longer walks, do yard work, work around the house, wash your car by hand, play with your children outside, or do simple exercises like push-ups and sit-ups while watching television.
4. GET YOUR BODY MOVING ON A REGULAR BASIS. Try to do some kind of physical activity most days of the week. Always look for opportunities to be active even if you have a busy schedule: do desk exercises instead of a cigarette or coffee break, take a walk during lunch hour, walk up the stairs instead of taking the elevator or escalator, etc. Only regular physical activity will help you achieve results.
5. ASK FAMILY AND FRIENDS TO JOIN YOU, AND MAKE IT FUN. Form walking groups with co-workers or neighbours, play with your children outside or take a dance class with friends. A company will foster your self-commitment and increase your motivation.
6. EXPLORE NEW PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES. Vary your activities – for interest and to keep your body challenged. Choose activities you enjoy and you’ll be more likely to stick with them. If you don’t like to exercise, don’t think of it as exercise – see it as a fun way to get your body moving. It can be walking, cycling, swimming, playing tennis, basketball, or just some housework.
7. KEEP IT SIMPLE with minimal equipment and just a few exercises. There are lots of different exercise gadgets and workout programs out there, but you can make it much easier. You can do amazing things with bodyweight exercises – they are a simple and effective way to improve balance, flexibility, and strength without extra equipment. For example, instead of using cardio machines — just go outside and walk, run, climb stairs, bike, etc. Unless you like it, don’t make it too complicated doing 3-4 different exercises per body part. Just pick a few for your workout, and do some circuits with little rest. Only make sure to change the exercises once in a while.
8. SLOWLY ADD INTENSITY. After you’ve been active for some time, add some intensity – only do it gradually (to avoid injury or burnout). Gradually integrating more physical activity into your daily routine will improve your chances of achieving the desired results.
9. SET GOALS – both short-term and long-term – to keep yourself motivated. Your goal should be achievable, though. It should also be simple and clear. By setting a specific goal you take a big step toward realizing it. Once you know where you want to go, you’ll be able to come up with better, faster, or easier ways to get there. You may want to keep an activity log to track your progress.
10. BE PATIENT, GIVE IT TIME. This may take a while – you didn’t gain weight overnight, and you won’t lose it that fast either. Don’t expect to see results immediately, within few weeks. It may take up to three months to start seeing the benefits of increased activity. Bigger results may take a year or longer. Learn to enjoy the process. Remember, it’s a lifestyle change that you’re going to enjoy for the rest of your life.