Can’t you commit to exercise? Here’s how to make it a part of your life and be a healthy woman.
Exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Exercise prevents health problems, increases strength, increases energy, and can help reduce stress. It can also help maintain a healthy body weight and reduce appetite.
The Road to Better Health
Adding exercise to your routine can have a positive effect on your life. Exercise can:
- Reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, diabetes, and obesity.
- Keep joints, tendons, and ligaments flexible, which makes it easier to move and decreases the chance of falling.
- Reduce some of the effects of aging, especially the discomfort of osteoarthritis.
- Contribute to mental well-being and help treat depression.
- Help relieve stress and anxiety.
- Increase energy and endurance.
- Improve sleep.
- Help maintain a normal weight by speeding up your metabolism (the rate at which you burn calories).
Integrate Exercise Into Your Daily Routine
We all have our own exercise complexes, and if you’re trying to start or improve an exercise routine, it’s important to know these limitations. The psychological literature tells us that to make a change, willpower is not enough. You also need to anticipate obstacles and find a realistic way to integrate the new behavior into your existing routine. With this in mind, here are 10 helpful tips:
Exercise at the same time every day
That’s why every morning at 7:15, after her eldest daughter leaves for the bus, Ali gets on her stationary bike and pedals until 7:45, when she has to get ready to take her youngest daughter to school. If you don’t have a regular schedule, do what Susan does and spend a few minutes each Sunday planning next week’s activities and thinking about how to incorporate exercise. Then, write it in your diary.
Choose an exercise that fits your life
Walking and running is ideal for travelers, as all they need to pack are clothes and a pair of running shoes. Ask the hotel receptionist to recommend a pleasant and safe exercise route. Many hotels have trail maps on hand.
Exercise with a friend
You’re more likely to get out of bed and exercise if you know a friend is waiting for you outside your home. Ali would rather walk with a friend than do it alone, because if she’s having fun talking, she doesn’t realize she’s climbing a deadly steep hill. Although Susan is a dedicated lone runner, she enjoys being part of a group that meets before and after running.
It sounds cynical, but there are people who feel so uncomfortable when you make a change, that they try to stop you. Ali recently told a friend how proud she was to ride her stationary bike 10 miles in 30 minutes and she said, “Oh, and you’ve already lost weight?” This kind of comment can make you feel like you’re on the floor in an instant. So get ready for sneak attacks as well as “compassionate” sabotage like “Friend, you don’t need to exercise. You look great!”
Propose to win a star
Do you remember the children’s boards where a star is glued on each time they tidy their room or dress themselves? They are a powerful tool for shaping behavior. Try to do the same by keeping track of your accomplishments in the exercise. Create your own or use one of the extensive tools available online, such as www.onlinefitnesslog.com. Susan, who loves to run, has a clock that tells her the pace, elevation and everything about her career. When you get home you can download the data to your computer and compare one race to another, which helps you stay motivated.
Have a goal
Decide to take part in a 5km or half marathon race, or go up a hill on your bike without stopping. Tell everyone about your goal and when you plan to achieve it. Your pride won’t let you back down. Besides, people will tell you. “Wow! You did a good job!”, a phrase you may not hear very often now that you’re an adult.
Listen to music
It’s more fun to exercise with music. There are websites, including www.podrunner.com, where you can choose the exact intensity of the exercise (135 beats per minute, 160 bpm, etc.) and then download the ideal music. Selections lean toward techno and electronic music, but if you don’t like these styles you can download recordings from an online music store and create your own workout mix.
Stay animated with short, high-speed runs
When Ali read some articles about the benefits of short, high-intensity exercise, he wondered if his routine could benefit from sprinting. Now spend 20 seconds of every minute on your exercise bike pedaling as fast as you can. You’ve noticed an increase in endurance and an added benefit: the variation in pace makes the exercise fly by.