I’m always trying to encourage others to be active, stay active, think active and live active. Trouble is it doesn’t always happen. Most of my clients, friends and family all give me the same response: I don’t enjoy exercise, nor do I have the time or money to invest in my active lifestyle. SIGH…this burdens me so because I know for a fact that being active can improve their health, increase their life span and give them more energy to explore life and all its wonderful activities.
Of course being physically inactive has its health ramifications. It increases one’s risk of developing chronic disease, which the CDC reports accounts for over 70% of all US deaths. Tragically, one out of every ten Americans will deal with some sort of limiting physical factor caused by these diseases and lose out on a better quality of life. The good news is physical activity is a prevention tool that individuals can use to decrease their risk of developing chronic disease, and improve their quality of life.
How do you become more active, stay active and live more active? There are hundreds of thoughts, inspirations and guidelines that you could follow but I’ve summarized them into 7 key tips to help you stay more active:
- Enjoy it- If you don’t like the activity you won’t do it. There are hundreds of options for physical activity and everyone is bound to find something they can enjoy. Choose something that puts a smile on your face and encourages you to move at minimum 20 minutes, 3 days per week. Look to like minded friends as you are more likely to maintain a program with support. Seek out small group training and bootcamps.
- Be consistent- it takes time to see improvement, on average about 4-6 weeks, being consistent with your activity levels and less sporadic will yield quicker results and help you stick with it!
- Keep records- document your workout activities and day to day motions using a journal or workout log. Writing down what you do helps you to focus on consistency and also provides you will a little accountability for your actions, or lack thereof
- Know your limits- Be sure you’re working within your current levels of fitness. Often individuals are frustrated by “new” physical activity because it is too hard for them too perform and they feel defeated. Listen to your body and do what you can to your fullest without pushing yourself beyond your current physical capabilities
- Cross train- Boredom is often sited as a reason individuals stop being physically active. In an effort to prevent this and decrease the risk of developing overuse injuries from repeated activity, incorporate a few different training modalities to cross train the body and break up the monotony
- Break it up- Divide your physical activities into pieces throughout your busy days. Do 10 minutes in the morning, 10 minutes at lunch and finish with another 10 minutes when you get home…it all adds up at the end of the day to meet activity goals
- Include More Day to Day Movement- Take the stairs instead of the elevator, park your car in the farthest parking space from your destination, get off the bus two stops early and walk the extra distance to work, walk around when you talk on the phone, get up and move around during commercials- better yet do some calisthenics and just plain move more when you get the chance.
Disease prevention aside, physical activity feels good, is good and will benefit you physically, emotionally and spiritually. Make the investment in yourself and use these 7 tips to get moving. Make sure you like it, can do it and stay consistent. Get on the move!
Amy Bomar, BS, CPT