Being active is not just about running on a treadmill or going to the gym. It’s about making movement a part of your regular routine and finding a healthy balance that makes you physically feel strong, energized and happy.
Most people’s first priority when it comes to exercise is to look good. Many don’t realize until their later years that exercise increases your health significantly and makes you feel significantly better. Not only do you not age as quickly because your body is able to recover and regenerate better, but the body does become stronger inside and out, more resistant to illness and injury, more easy to move and mobile, and less affected by stress.
Taking a 'break' away from life also provides a huge mental relief that makes you feel more refreshed and able to see other things more clearly. But remember that being active shouldn't add stress to your life. Start slow and treasure the time you have to focus solely on yourself. You should never feel guilty putting yourself first. It's Your Body. Your Life.
The key to developing an active lifestyle is to find the enjoyment in being active as well as the benefits it produces. It is important to find strong motivators that will allow long term adoption but with as little deterrence as possible. The number one goal is always long term adoption because results and benefits will disappear once you fail to continue. In the end though, like all things, discipline and commitment will always be required.
Here are a few steps you can use to help you develop a healthy active lifestyle:
1. Find and block off 2-3 timeslots during your week when you can realistically fit a session in (30-90min)
It's ONLY 2 days a week! Make a commitment and do NOT schedule over them.
2. Get active with family or friends
Make a commitment with family or friends, join a community like a sports group or class, reach out to old friends
3. Find activities you enjoy
Consider fitness classes, dance, sports, martial arts, outdoor activities
4. Find activities within 10km of your home or work or along your transit route
5. Think of alternate ways to be active
ie: bike to work, take the stairs, 10min morning yoga, go out dancing, go for a walk during your lunch hour
6. Make a commitment and be accountable
Set appointments with personal trainers
Sign up for classes with set dates and times
Coordinate weekly times with family/friends
Write your workouts in your weekly planner
Post a monthly schedule somewhere you look regularly and sign-off on all workouts
7. Minimize possible deterrence
ie: distance from home or work, travel during high traffic times, unmanageable costs, intimidating environments, awkward timing
8. Share your plans with someone close to you and ask them to help you stay committed
9. Find a phrase or image that gets you motivated to take action
ie: "Just do it!" "Let's go Nat!" "Summer's coming!" "No! I am doing this!"
These are the exact steps I take my clients through when setting a schedule and making a commitment. Need that extra help? Book a counselling session and let's get you started!