Fit in Fitness in the New Year
UGA Cooperative Extension, Chatham County
The New Year is here and along with it most of us have made some type of resolutions. Some of the most common are to lose weight, exercise more, change a habit (such as drinking or smoking), spend more time with your family, get out of debt or just learn something new. Resolutions are a personal thing that only you can decide what is best for you. Often we make a list of resolutions, only to have most of them forgotten after the first month of the year. It is best to only choose one or two items that you feel strongly about, set goals, and make a plan for accomplishing. If you choose too many you are less likely to be successful. One of my personal goals is to be more active in the new year and I am going to share some ideas to help you "Fit in Fitness" in your daily routine.
Regular exercise is one of the best things you can do for your health. Studies show that it reduces the risk of some cancers, increases longevity, helps achieve and maintain weight loss, enhances mood, lowers blood pressure, and even improves arthritis. In short, exercise keeps you healthy and makes you look and feel better.
Often you will hear someone say (or it may have been you saying this) "I am too tired to exercise" or "I don't have time to exercise." The funny thing about this is if you start exercising you usually have more energy which makes you less tired and feeling better. I know some days it is all I can do to get myself on my treadmill. Once I get past the first 15 minutes, it seems like I get a burst of energy and when I get through the work out I actually have more energy. I know once I sit down after work, then it is hard to get back up. One technique that has helped me is to change clothes when I walk in the door and try to go ahead and exercise first. I know this strategy may work for some of you and not others, so just choose a time that you can fit in a some exercise. One way is to make activity part of your daily life. Park a little further away and walk when shopping, take the stairs rather than the elevator when possible, plan activities with family members or friends that encourage movement, dance while cleaning the house, or choose many other ways to encourage an active lifestyle. After a while, it will become part of your life and will be part of your routine.
Here are some tips to help you Fit in Fitness in the New Year:
• Find a exercise that is right for you. If you choose something you enjoy you are more likely to continue with it.
• Write down why you want to exercise . Keep a list visible to regularly reinforce your motivation.
• Start slowly. This will help you achieve the most benefits with least risk. You can work your way up to more exercises and time, but if you do too much too fast, you are more likely to quit.
• Make time to exercise . Identify a time of the day that you can exercise and stick to it. It is very easy to make an excuse not to get up and move.
• Keep an exercise log . This will help you stay on track, review your goals and can serve as a great motivator.
• Find an exercise buddy. A good way to help keep you on track is to get someone else involved. The accountability is good for both of you. This can also make the time seem to go by quicker.
• Make exercise fun. There are so many ways you can exercise, find something that you enjoy. Walk a new area of the neighborhood, find a video you can do at home, or simply just try something new that you are interest in. You may be surprised how much you enjoy exercising.
• Set weekly goals with enticing rewards. Short term goals give you something to work toward without being overwhelmed. When accomplished it gives you a sense of accomplishment. Take time to celebrate or treat yourself: so to a movie, get a massage, or do something that will award yourself. Do not use food rewards, especially if you are trying to lose weight.
• Wear comfortable shoes with good support. This will help avoid injuries during exercise.
• Check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program. This is especially important as you get older or if you have a history of health problems.
• Get up and move! Incorporate exercise throughout your day, even if you're at work. If you work at a desk, get up and move at least once an hour. You can do simple stretching at your desk. If you work outside, try to add a few more steps in your activity.
There is no magic to getting you up and moving. You can choose to put more activity into your day. Start with small obtainable goals. They can be tackled in steps, beginning with baby steps and increasing in difficulty as you become more accustomed to the change. Realistic goals increase the possibility for lasting change. Now it is off to get on my tennis shoes so I can get on the treadmill. I will keep you posted as the year progresses. For more information on Nutrition and Health, the University of Georgia offers free nutrition sessions in English and Spanish in Chatham, Appling, Wayne, Bacon, Jeff Davis, and Toombs Counties. If you would like more information contact Carmen Martinez, email@example.com at 912.652.7994 or Fani Orellana, firstname.lastname@example.org, 912.367.8130. They can come to your organization, church or neighborhood.