Find what moves you

Health is more than just eating a well-balanced diet. It extends to leading a healthy lifestyle and maintaining good habits. You can eat all the broccoli in the world, but without a healthy lifestyle it’s hard to reach your full physical and mental potential. Today, we will focus on physical activity and simple ways to start and stick to an exercise routine. Exercise actually gives us energy! Think about how you feel after sitting around for hours, versus how you feel when you're up and moving around. You feel better when you are active, right? I know I do! Although our body is healthiest when it is getting appropriate physical activity, we often dread when we hear the word “exercise”. It may even feel like a chore or a burden. Let's pause and think about this… what type of movement do you consider FUN and exciting as opposed to torturous and boring? Perhaps you are like me and loathe the idea of going to the gym, but love to be outside! Then use your surrounding environment, whether you are walking, running, hiking, cycling, swimming, etc. Perhaps you find motivation taking group classes… how about taking a kickboxing, spinning, yoga, pilates or a dance class. There are plenty of exercise options, especially in the summer months. Try something new… or many new things to find what you really enjoy... find what moves you. Remember, you don't have to spend countless hours at the gym to reap significant benefits. Here are 5 tips on how to start and sustain an exercise routine: 1. Start now and go slow. If you don't already have an exercise routine, put your shoes on and start today by taking a 20 minute walk. Look at ways you can add more activity into your day, like a short walk during your lunch break, and another walk after work perhaps. If finding 20-30 minutes at a time is challenging, then break it up into smaller chunks of time… it adds up in the end! The key is to start with something, and COMMIT to it. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. 2. Set one easy measurable goal, and keep it simple. Write it down, and post it to your bathroom mirror so you see it every day. For example, your goal can be “walk 30 minutes daily”. Start out easy and make it attainable, because you are forming the habit. Set it on your calendar; decide when, where, and with whom you will be exercising. The more concrete the plan is, the more likely you will do it! Try this goal for at least one month, then reassess. 3. Track your activity. Keep a simple log of the activities you do, including walks, cycling, gym classes etc. A good way is to download a free app like Fitbit on your phone. Tracking really makes me aware of how active, or inactive I am. Observe how you feel when you incorporate more or less activity into your life, and take notice how your body reacts to different types of movement. Remember to check with your doctor before you start a new exercise routine. 4. Accountability. This is one of the most important components of a successful and consistent exercise routine. You can rely on a friend, a family member, or a trainer. Set it up so that you report daily on your progress, and make it part of the process. You can text, email, or share a document with them. This will put some pressure on making you do this and knowing that someone is expecting an update and holding you to your goal. 5. Visualize. How is exercise making you feel during and after? I feel great after a good workout. It’s a high. And I let that feeling motivate the next workout. Imagine a slimmer, fitter you. Picture yourself in an outfit you've been trying to slim for. Focus on it being an outlet for relieving stress after a long day, or imagine how energized you will feel if you exercise early in the morning. Let these visualizations drive you towards building and sustaining this habit. Keep in mind that the best exercise is the one you will do. Discover what you love, and stick to it. Your heart will thank you, your soul will be gratified, your limbs will be more fluid, your mood will get lifted, and you’ll sleep better at night. Best of all you will be healthier and happier overall. What type of activity can you commit to this week? Come on, grab your shoes and start today… Weather is great out there let’s get moving!

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