Exercise is an essential component of a healthy lifestyle. It's not only great for you, but it makes you feel good and can improve your mood. The added benefits that you will see soon after starting is a great way to help keep you motivated for a new lifestyle. Everyone should find time for fitness in their schedule, whether they're a fitness-pro or a beginner!
For those who want to get started with a fitness routine, here are some of the basics. Read on for some fast facts, tricks and tips to start exercising and stick with it!
- Let the health benefits be a motivating factor. First and foremost, exercise is good for you! It keeps weight under control, reduces the risk of life-threatening diseases – heart disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes to name a few – reduces stress, improves sleep patterns and increases life span. Know that every time you exercise, you’re doing something truly good for your body.
- You don't need a lot of exercise to see a change. If you don't have lots of time to devote to fitness, don't worry – even small amounts can yield big benefits. Experts recommend 2.5 hours of moderate physical activity each week. This can be as simple as aerobic walking. Spread the time out over several days or do a few long workouts each week. It's up to you what works best for your schedule! For your help, here are a few guaranteed weight loss tips that you may try.
- Stick with it and you'll be able to do more difficult exercises. As your fitness level increases, combine moderate workouts with heightened physical activities. Experts suggest 1.25 hours of vigorous activity a week. Vigorous exercise, like running, requires you to exert more energy, and with it comes more health benefits. Start slow and don't push your body beyond its limitations. Otherwise, you may injure yourself! Once you are ready, add an extra half mile or so and continue to challenge yourself and build on your work outs.
- Don't compare yourself with others. Keep in mind that each individual is different and not every fitness routine is right for everyone. The right amount and type of exercise will vary based on age and current fitness levels. To figure out what's right for you, use an online target heart rate tool to determine your target heart rate. This will help you determine what level of rigor you should be aiming for in your workouts.
- Create fitness goals that are realistic. You shouldn't expect to see changes in your body overnight. It is important to remember that weight loss is not just tied to a number, so even if you do not see the scale move do not feel discouraged. To see results, you must be patient, dedicated, and realistic about what's attainable. Start on a small scale by creating goals for yourself each week. The success you feel as you reach these small goals will help keep you motivated. For more information, learn how to set realistic weight loss goals
- Workout with a friend. Ask a friend to join you in your exercise routine. This will make exercise fun – even something that you look forward to! Try running with a friend or participating in a group fitness class together. Not only will you have a reason to make time for exercise, but a friend can give you constant support and encouragement. This will be a good way to always have someone checking on you to make you accountable for your commitment to work out.
- Sneak in ways to be active. Your exercise doesn't need to be limited to the gym. Find chances to incorporate additional activity into your daily life. Take a walk instead of a snack break, climb the stairs instead of using the elevator or walk somewhere instead of driving. These small amounts of physical activity add up and can help you make strides towards increasing your overall fitness.
- Reward yourself. When you accomplish one of your fitness goals, reward yourself! Treat yourself to something when you run a certain distance, exercise for a certain number of hours or complete a challenging new routine. Buy a new item of clothing or a dinner that is special as well as healthy. These small rewards will remind you of your successes and keep you on track towards achieving your goals!
This is a guest post contributed by NorthShore University Health System, a comprehensive, fully integrated, healthcare delivery system that serves the Chicago region. With leading medical offices and hospitals in Chicago and the surrounding area, NorthShore provides patients with the care they need from certified nutritionists and other health specialists.
Image Source: USAG Humphreys, CC-BY-2.0, via Flickr