Regular exercise in order to stay healthy is a goal for lots of people, and for many of us it was probably a New Year’s resolution. However, surveys say only about a quarter of all New Year’s resolutions are kept. With those odds, chances are you could use a little help sticking with your exercise routine by now.
The Centers for Disease Control recommends 30 minutes of brisk activity five times a week, plus strength training twice a week. It can take a lot of will power to keep up with that kind of routine. Simple changes to your day and simple exercises can go a long way to helping you stick with your plan and achieve your goals.
SO WHAT’S YOUR EXCUSE?
“I don’t have enough time.” – You don’t have to walk on a treadmill two hours a day to get fit. If you have that time, wonderful! If you don’t, think smart. Take the stairs, park at the far end of the parking lot; and once you’re in the grocery store, walk up and down every aisle. Once you find the time to get active, your body will crave it.
“I’m too old!” – No, you’re not. Muscles can gain strength if you’re 8 or 80 years old. Start slow, and talk to your doctor before starting any exercise routine.
“I don’t want to miss time with my family.” – That one is easy. Work out together! A lot of dance video workouts are family-friendly and fun. Become the tag champion. Make an indoor obstacle course on a rainy day. Take a walk together as a family every evening after dinner. Or you can maximize your time by exercising during the children’s nap time or while the kids are at school.
“I’m already out of shape. Why bother?” – Exercise can help improve everything from high blood pressure to depression, diabetes, aches and pains, even fatigue. Start slow, but get up and move! Walking is one of the easiest, most effective exercises.
“I can’t afford the gym.” – Well, you don’t need one. Walking is free. Climbing the stairs is free. Create your own gym at home. A jump rope, a pair of dumbbells, an exercise ball, and a few exercise videos are more than enough. Find a workout game for your child’s video game system. Some can even count your calories. Bonus!
If you feel pain when you exercise, water aerobics might be a better option for you; it can be easier on joints. To help prevent injury, include a warm-up routine before you exercise and a cool-down session when you are done. To keep tabs on your progress, use a website or cell phone app to track the food you eat and log your exercise.
Remember, five minutes of exercise are better than none. Find what works for you, and cut out the excuses.