Getting in shape doesn’t have to be complicated. If you incorporate these five simple fitness tips into your routine, you’ll be on your way to looking and feeling great.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services suggests 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of intense exercise per week for the average adult. That works out to about 21 minutes of moderate exercise or 11 minutes of vigorous exercise per day. For the busy person, setting aside time for the gym might prove tricky. Chances are, though, even the busiest person can work in twenty minutes of movement.
Have a few minutes while microwaving lunch? Walk briskly in place. Waiting for water to boil? Try some jumping jacks.Keep your toes tapping and legs moving while working at your desk. For a bonus, take breaks as frequently as possible to stretch — even if it’s just raising your arms and straightening your torso. Need to clean? Turn on some music and make it fun. You’ll get your exercise in and wind up with a tidier home.
The bottom line: wherever you are or whatever you’re doing, keep your muscles moving. Even if you’re just walking in place, every little step counts.
Make It Fun
Some people like going to the gym and sweating on the treadmill or elliptical. If you’re one of those people, great. Renew your gym membership or buy some exercise equipment and knock yourself out. For everyone else, typical workouts can be a drudge.
If the gym isn’t for you, forcing yourself to go isn’t a long-term solution. Eventually, you’ll get tired of it and stop. Why not find some type of physical activity you enjoy instead? For example, dance classes, roller derby, basketball, hiking, rock climbing, or bike riding. The possibilities are endless.
No time for a new hobby? No problem. Fitness can be as simple as flipping on some music and dancing your feet off for as long as you can. Determined to make the whole gym thing work? Try spicing up your workout by listening to an audiobook or podcast while working up a sweat.
The old adage “there’s strength in numbers” applies doubly to fitness. Finding a partner or group to exercise with makes it easier to meet your fitness goals. Having trouble getting out of bed and going to the gym in the morning? If it’s just you, it’s much easier to hit snooze and go back to dreaming of pizza and ice cream. However, if you’re meeting a friend, you’re more likely to haul yourself out of bed to avoid standing him or her up.
Having a fitness buddy also helps with accountability and motivation. A study published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology found that 95 percent of participants who began a fitness program with friends completed the program. Only 76 percent of solo participants finished the program. Those who participated with friends also lost more weight than those who didn’t.
You’re working hard. You exercise and you eat right. Do something nice for yourself! As you meet your goals — or just maintain them — reward yourself for your efforts. It’s okay to have a slice of cheesecake every once in a while; just don’t go overboard.
Food isn’t the only reward to consider. You could also treat yourself with new clothes or a new game, a night out — whatever appeals to you. By giving yourself a reward, you’re reinforcing the idea that you’ve achieved something. When you complete tasks and reach your goals, the reward center in your brain sends out dopamine, the neurotransmitter that makes you feel good.
The better getting fit makes you feel, the more likely you are to stick with it.