The easiest way to insure your ongoing active lifestyle is to put the fun in your fitness.
How? You ask. By figuring out what activities you most enjoy. Is it a gym? Is it the beach? Is it a volleyball court? Or, is it a biking or hiking path?
Whichever situation sparks your fancy, figure out a way to work it into your schedule every week.
I can hear you now. “But I work full-time & I’ve got kids. By the time I pick them up and get them home & worry about the homework, worry about the dinner, worry about the bath, and get them to bed, I don’t have time for exercise.”
Well let’s break that down.
First of all, any type of movement is better than no movement at all. So whether you go to a gym for a fitness class or treadmill doesn’t really matter.
During your work day how many ways can you find to move? Think about your physical environment. Are there opportunities to take the stairs, rather than an elevator or escalator? What about parking lots? Do you park as close to the entrance as possible or as far away as possible? What about when you go out for lunch? Do you take a walk after you eat? What about when you have meetings at work? Can any of these be converted to walking meetings? What about when you have to make a phone call for work? Do you stand while you speak? For those of you in sales or customer service this idea will serve to give you more energy during your phone conversation. Can you convert your desk to a standing desk?
Stop and think about your work day and jot down 3 ideas for building in more movement.
At home, when can you work in more movement?
Can you and anyone in the house take a walk before or after dinner? Can you find a neighborhood walking group to walk with? Nowadays Nextdoor.com is very handy for finding neighbors to interact with.
Another common barrier I encounter when counseling clients is lack of motivation or energy. The best way to overcome that feeling, which is just that, a feeling, is to schedule your physical activity in advance with a friend if possible. Look up the fitness class schedule at your local YMCA & calendar a class that sounds fun to you.
The local municipal park & recreation departments usually have some type of movement classes available nowadays. It doesn’t have to be “fitness” per se. It can be a ballroom dance class or something different like a belly dance or Bollywood class. You never know who you’ll meet in one of these classes.
Often civic parks have “courses” near where the children can play, so that you can keep your eyes on them.
Another common obstacle is that you are caring for your kids and don’t have any help. In that case I counsel my clients to try to figure out an activity that includes the kids. Perhaps invite another family to join you to make it more fun. How about inviting another family to go bowling together or play ping pong, basketball, flag football, or volleyball? Or if you want to get really bold, you can start a family league to meet once a week.
The added benefit is that your kids get the exercise they need as well. These days many elementary schools are cutting back on physical education and this type of activity fills in.
You probably already know the physical benefits of exercise: improved heart, lungs and oxygen to your cells, what you may not be aware of is the mood enhancement that exercise brings due to the release of happy chemicals, such as endorphins, in the brain
Whichever mode of movement you choose, try to make it a regular habit. At first you may have to calendar the activities, but after a few weeks your schedule will be so regular you won’t need to write it down anymore. And, you will be happier and possibly even make new friends.