With the New Year, comes New Year’s resolutions. But let’s be honest – how many of us truly keep strong with that resolution of “going to the gym more often”? Most of us start determined until we slowly fall off the exercise wagon as we start citing legitimate excuses: weather, work trips, vacation, illness, and anything else that seems reasonable. Sound about right? Therefore, the challenge this year is to simply rephrase that resolution to “being active more often.” Find out below why this simple adjustment will keep you motivated throughout the year.
The cardinal rule in learning how to enjoy exercise is to keep your primary motivation far away from the ever-so-popular weight loss determinant. Studies show that the average adult becomes unmotivated to exercise when they view it as punishment for not being ‘fit’ enough. However, your weight loss journey is comprised of a variety of factors, such as eating habits, drinking, and sleeping.
Fun fact: a psychologist at the University of Michigan conducted a study showing that women who place weight loss as their primary motivational determinant tend to exercise less than those with other motivations. This year, maybe try to view exercise as a way to improve your mental or physical health. As a matter of fact, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that adults integrate regular cardio into their routine, with a minimum of 2.5 hours of “moderate-intensity” training per week. To simplify the term “moderate-intensity,” just remind yourself that you should have the ability to talk but not sing. The basic goal here is to truly appreciate every small achievement you make while trying to bear the minimum of 30-minute walks at least 5 days a week. With that being said, view exercise as an exceptional investment in your health.
Don’t be afraid to try something new! There is often a misconception that for exercise to be effective, you must have a rigorous, hardcore training session. However, there are plenty of exercise routes that won’t push you to your breaking point. First, start off with a long-term goal that works best for your health. Maybe it’s a 12 – 24 months plan. If you finish you goal early, then more power to you! Some options to break up the mundane days may include a short drive to the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains to appreciate the serenity of nature as you hike along a marked trail. Hiking is a perfect opportunity to catch up with your family at the end of a busy week. You could also simply grab a friend or your dog to take a casual walk around the neighborhood or nearby park. Have confidence in yourself as you try out a new yoga studio or cycling class solo. Who knows? You may end up meeting new people that become life-long friends. As you try out the variety of exercises, focus on which ones truly make you happy and excited to go back.
Explore the wonderful world of exercise with some of the most unconventional fitness routines edging away at fun. Martial arts is an excellent way to improve balance and coordination, and has also been known to combat depression. Did you know that an hour of rollerblading can burn roughly 400 calories? It can be an enjoyable way to tone your legs and work those abdominal muscles, as well. Or simply bring your heart rate up by laughing and dancing to the booming volume of your favorite music. Incorporate a classic stretching routine or old fashion push-up to tone your muscles. If you can’t do a push-up, try 2.5 lb. hand weights as you walk. Pilates helps to strengthen and lengthen all body muscles, with a particular emphasis on the core muscles. Another invigorating option to improve your overall heart strength is kickboxing. Enjoy the positive energy that roams the room during a kickboxing class, as the high-intensity training activates both your lower- and upper-body muscles.
The options are endless! It is just a matter of finding what you love and learning how to properly motivate yourself to keep up the routine. And don’t forget to pat yourself on the back for each triumphant day.