The results are in and it’s official – regular exercise is good for our health and well being. The results are not surprising. Nearly everyday we hear, read and see reports on the benefits of exercise. Studies have proved that regular exercise burns more calories, strengthens our muscles, boosts immune system, improves cholesterol levels and increases circulation throughout the body. The benefits are not just physical. Research has found the people feel better as a result of exercising. The increased circulation to the brain has a positive effect on our mood.
The lack of physical activity has also been studied. Research has found that inactivity is a health risk just like smoking or eating a poor diet. Unfortunately, more than sixty percent of American adults are not sufficiently active. Our bodies are meant to move. We have over six hundred muscles in the body and the familiar saying “if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it” is true.
What’s good to know is the fact that it is never too late to start exercising. The benefits of exercising are universal meaning it applies to everyone and it works every time. But even when we know that exercise is good for us, getting started is sometimes hard. Our minds may actually work against us in the beginning. Something holds us back. It seems that we would rather stay comfortable in our current state than take on a new routine. The way to break out of this state is to recognize where we are in control of our lives and have the strength to make a change. Here are some helpful suggestions to start exercising and have the mindset to stick with it:
1. Make Exercise an Important Part of Your Life. Regular exercise should be a top priority in all of our lives. Make the time to exercise because you’ll never find the time. Decide today that you will not compromise or make excuses when it comes to exercise. The rewards (good health) are too great to miss and the consequences (poor health) are too great to ignore.
2. Set Short and Long-Term Goals. Setting goals is good practice in business, personal finances, relationships and it works well with exercise too. Put your health and fitness goals in writing and review them daily. An example of a short-term goal may be to develop a good habit by working out regularly for two weeks straight. Another goal may be to lose a certain amount of weight or improve muscle tone and body composition. Your long-term goals should center on using regular exercise as an important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, preventing disease and remaining active all of your life.
3. Take Measurements. Create your personal ‘before and after’ ad. Weigh yourself and use a tape measure to take measurements of your neck, chest, waist, hips, and thighs at the start of your exercise program. Write down the measurements. After 60 days of regular exercise, take the same measurements again and compare the results. This is an excellent way to chart your progress.
4. Choose an Exercise Program That’s Right for You. There is something for everyone when it comes to exercise. It does not matter how old you are or what condition you are in when you begin. The key is to start slowly and choose a program that interests you. Don’t be afraid to explore by consulting with a certified personal trainer, reading articles and books or watching videos for guidance.
5. Visualize Success. Picture yourself finishing a workout and feeling really great about it. Visualize yourself achieving your goals and the confidence you will have from this accomplishment. If you believe it, you can achieve it.
6. Keep a Journal. It always helps to plan and think on paper. In your own health and fitness notebook, write down your goals, workout schedule, progress and diet information. It also helps to include any obstacles you may encounter in order to overcome them and get back on track.
7. Use the Buddy System. Studies have shown that people who make exercising social stick with it longer. Encourage a spouse, friend or co-worker to join you when you work out. Offer to join a friend when they exercise.
8. Variety, Variety, Variety. Use your imagination to keep your workouts interesting. Create a workout music soundtrack with your favorite songs. Change the environment from time to time. Exercise with different people. Sign up for a new fitness class. Play a sport that you never played before but always wanted to try. Rent a fitness video and try it.
9. Challenge Yourself. Our bodies are capable of performing great feats and accomplishing more than what we believe possible. After an exercise session, tell yourself that you are great today. And challenge yourself that you will be even better tomorrow. The challenge will keep you focused and help you reach your goals. Do not set limits on what you can accomplish.
10. Reward Yourself. Take credit for the all of the good things that you have accomplished – small and large. After reaching a goal, treat yourself by purchasing a new outfit, getting for a massage at the spa or having a healthy dinner with family and friends.
Consistent exercise is a key part of a healthy lifestyle. Getting started on a regular routine is not always easy so applying these tips will help. Once you start moving the Law of Momentum will kick into gear. This law states that it is hard to get moving in the beginning but once you get going – it gets easier and easier to keep moving. No more excuses, make the time and get started today.