When it comes to exercise, folks tend to fall into one of two camps: either they love it or they hate it. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of in between. Add that to the standard American diet plus our increasingly sedentary lifestyle (you can order almost anything delivered to your door step these days!), and we’ve become a nation of chronic disease, obesity, pain, lack of attention, etc.
Here’s what we know: regular exercise helps maintain a healthy body weight, wards off chronic disease, boosts your immune system, improves attention, preserves memory, and so much more.
What do you do if you are someone who hates to exercise? First off, I like to reframe those thoughts. Instead of thinking of it as exercise, know that what you are really doing is moving your body in order to reap the benefits for your overall health. The truth is, how you move your body doesn’t have to be perfect, and it doesn’t have to be one size fits all. Regular movement is what matters most.
Choose something you love to do whether it’s going for a walk, riding your bike with friends, or checking out that neighborhood yoga class, and keep at it more days than not. Love the gym? Great! Gather up some gym buddies and get in a workout. Maybe you like the meditation of a solitary run in nature. Grab those moments to yourself and love every minute of it.
Even short bursts of movement throughout the day add up to major gains. Try setting a timer on your phone to remind you to get up and move once an hour. Take a brisk walk around the building, stretch next to your desk, or if you’re feeling really ambitious, hit the stair well and climb a few flights to get your heart pumping.
Still in need of a little inspiration? Check out my six tips for getting your body moving and having fun while doing so!
NOTE: If you do not currently exercise, have recently been hospitalized, had surgery or another medical procedure, given birth, and/or haven’t had a fairly recent checkup with your doctor in which you were deemed healthy for exercise, make sure to check in with a doctor you trust before starting any new exercise program.
A YouTube a Day…
We can all stop and think of a time we’ve gotten lost in the YouTube wormhole, sitting and watching mindless videos for much longer than we mean to do. Did you know that YouTube is filled with videos designed to get you moving? Think of something you’re interested in trying and search for it. I did a simple search for “yoga”, “tai chi”, and “walking for weight loss” and returned tons of videos to choose from in all varieties of lengths and teaching styles. There really is something for everyone out there.
There’s An App for That
Love your smart phone? Let your smart phone love you back! There are all sorts of fitness apps available to help you get your body moving and find some relief from “text neck”. Stop by the App Store on your phone (or tablet!), choose the “Health & Fitness” category, and you will find an app for just about any type of movement you might be interested in trying. Many are free or low cost, and often will utilize the music you already have on your phone to keep you moving throughout the workout.
If you love to read magazines, check out one of the many health and fitness oriented magazines for quick tips and movements to incorporate in your daily routine. There are many to choose from such as SELF, Shape, Women’s Health, Experience Life, and many more! Some even have tear out cards you can mix and match to design your own movement routine.
Do you have a competitive spirit? Do you hate the idea of exercise but love teamwork and camaraderie of playing a sport? Join a local team and get moving! There are all sorts of adult sports leagues at varies levels of skill and competitiveness available. Meetup groups are also a great option for finding others, like yourself, who love to play a sport and want to meet new friends while doing so.
This is one of the easiest. Put on some music you love and dance, dance, dance! You can dance while you clean, dance while you cook, dance while you watch your favorite TV show. You can also usually find reasonably priced dance classes at your local community center or dance studio. Have you always wanted to try ballet or tap but weren’t able to as a child? Adult beginner classes are popping up all over the place. They give you a chance to learn a new skill while moving your body.
Did you sing it and do the dance? If you’re a gym lover or fitness class enthusiast, there is probably a gym in your area that will meet both your movement and budget needs. Bonus!Most gyms offer a free trial. So get out there and try a new place, a new class, and just move!
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