To make regular physical activity part of your every day life, it is important to find things that you like to do. In our busy lives today, there are many other things we need to do or would like to do and exercise often slips off the calendar. Make a plan, make it interesting and your odds increase of adding this important component of good health to your life.
1. Plan for exercise with a friend. If you have a "date" scheduled you are more likely to make it happen. But probably best to not schedule with a friend who is likely to skip out on you or such a good friend that you may not hesitate to cancel on her.
2. Hire a Personal Trainer. Working with a trainer can help you create an exercise plan that will help you reach your goals and will allow for accountability that can keep you on track as well. Look for a trainer who has a minimum of a bachelor's degree in exercise science, kinesiology or exercise physiology. And find a trainer who is certified. Reputable certifying agencies include ACSM, ISSSA and NSCA.
3. Get outside. Not only will exercise outside give you some variety after being in the gym for the winter, it can simply be more fun to get out in the fresh air and sun.
4. Go for a walk after dinner. By the end of the day you may be done thinking about exercise for the day. Even if you have had structured exercise at another time during the day, a walk in the evening after your meal when the sun is still shining is a wonderful way to end your day. You will burn a few more calories, but even more importantly you will lower stress hormones and help you wind down for good sleep.
5. Start early. With the sun rising earlier each day, getting out for a walk, bike ride or run early in the day is an amazing way to start the day. It is generally a quiet time to be alone with your thoughts. And how great it feels to have started your day moving!
6. Join a team. Are there sports you like to play that you haven't played in years? Look for a recreational team in soccer, volleyball or join a tennis league. A team will keep you committed to an exercise schedule and a fun way to exercise with others.
7. Train for an event. Pushing yourself to run in a 5K, 10K, half or even a full marathon will certainly get you moving. When you have something you are training for it will ensure that you keep a schedule to keep pushing yourself to reach that goal. Even better, sign up for an event that raises money for a charity important to you - help others while getting in great shape!
8. Put it on your calendar. Exercising any time of year will be more likely to happen if you have made a plan and put it in writing. When you decide that exercise is important for your health and well being, make it a priority and schedule it into your day.
As spring arrives it is a time for new beginnings. Start something new with your exercise routine and you will reap the rewards of physical activity - lowered stress, better sleep, improved weight control, improved mood and reduced risk of disease.