January, the first month of the year, is a refresher which brings with it a feeling of newness, time to set new goals, look at the things we want to accomplish this year.
Health and wellness are typically in the forefront for many, reconnecting or perhaps even taking that first step towards feeling better. We tend to start off strong, motivated, however as with many things, as time progresses, enthusiasm can faulter.
Let’s add to last week’s blog on overcoming barriers to fitness, offering a few more suggestions and ideas to help your journey.
Lack of motivation - If the thought of a morning jog makes you tired, consider several ideas to get moving. It's natural to grow weary of the same workout day after day, especially when you're doing it alone. Exercise doesn't have to be boring.
· Make physical activity a regular part of your daily or weekly schedule and write it on your calendar.
· Better yet, invite a friend to exercise with you on a regular basis and write it on both your calendars.
· Join an exercise group or class. You might even learn a new skill.
· Set realistic expectations. If you set your goals too high, you might give up without even trying. Start with a walk around the block, don’t give up if you feel worn out, we’ve all been there. Take another walk around the block tomorrow. Keep it up, and eventually you'll no longer feel worn out.
· Choose activities you enjoy and you'll be more likely to stay interested. Remember, anything that gets you moving counts.
· Vary the routine, rotate among several activities — such as walking, swimming and cycling — to keep you on your toes while conditioning different muscle groups.
Fear of injury – If the worry of injury is holding you back, check out these tips that will help keep you injury free! If it’s the mental aspect of “beginner” or “starting again” that concerns you, remember ANY ACTIVITY COUNTS, starting small is A- ok!
· Warm up and cool down for specific activities to prevent injury.
· Consider your age, fitness level, skill level and health status and exercise accordingly.
· Choose activities involving minimum risk.
· Start slowly, perhaps with a simple walking program. As you become more confident, add new activities to your routine.
· Try an exercise class for beginners. You'll learn the basics that will keep you moving!
· Get professional help. Get a fitness tutorial from a certified expert, they can monitor your movements and point you in the right direction. If you've had a previous injury or you have a medical condition, you may want to consult your doctor or personal trainer for help designing a fitness program appropriate for you.
Lack of skill - You don't need natural athletic ability to be active. Even if you've been inactive for some time, it's never too late to start moving!
· Select activities that don’t require new skills, such as walking, climbing stairs, or jogging.
· Take a class to develop new skills. Start slowly and give your body a chance to get used to the activity.
· Pick an activity you like, such as dancing or gardening, and invite friends to join in. You'll have fun and keep active.
· Don't worry about becoming a superstar, simply focus on the positive changes you're making to your body and mind.
I've tried to exercise in the past and failed - Don't give up. Reevaluate what went wrong and learn. Although you can't always see visible changes when you lower your risk of diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease, regular exercise is sure to have a positive impact on your health.
· Start small and build up to more-intense workouts, when your body is ready.
· Set realistic goals. Don't promise yourself you're going to work out for an hour every day, and then get down on yourself when you fall short. Stick with manageable goals you can achieve, such as exercising 20 minutes a day, three days a week for the first month.
· Remember why you're exercising. Use your personal health and fitness goals as motivation.
I'm self-conscious about how I look - Remind yourself that you're improving yourself and you are doing this for your health and wellness. Nobody but you matters!
· If you're uncomfortable exercising around others, go solo. Try an exercise video or an activity-oriented video game. Consider investing in a piece of home exercise equipment.
· Focus on the future. Praise yourself for making a commitment to your health. And remember that as you become fitter and more comfortable exercising, your self-confidence is likely to improve as well.
Health and wellness is a lifelong commitment. Be patient, be kind and make sure to
celebrate your successes!