By: Marlene Affeld ~
No matter if you are new mom wanting to get back in shape after pregnancy, a senior citizen seeking to maintain balance and agility, or a dieter determined to drop excess weight, a combination of diet modification, hydration and exercise are key to the success of any fitness program. A fitness plan is like a three-legged stool; take away any one of legs and whoever is sitting on the stool will fall flat on their face.
Exercise is the downfall in the weight loss program for many people.
Getting into a regular exercise routine is tough, even for those that used to be addicted to the gym but fell out of their regular routine. Exercising on a regular basis requires motivation and most people don’t have it.
If this sounds like you, it’s time to engage the services of a personal trainer. You don’t need to commit to a long-term program, but it is important that you learn the proper form for each exercise. A trainer can work with you at the gym or in your home. If you have scheduled a twice-weekly session, it is a lot harder to come up with an excuse not to follow through. After a few weeks of working with a trainer, you will be back in your routine, motivated by visible results and far more likely to stay committed to your long-term fitness goals.
Unfortunately, there isn’t one “magic trick” that helps everyone get in shape and shed unwanted pounds. Success is achieved through a series of small changes. Optimum physical fitness isn’t just about hitting the gym for hours every day, or being able to fit in your skinny jeans. Regular exercise has many more hidden benefits – increased bone strength, lower risk of ailments such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetics, colon cancer, and depression, as well as improved energy levels and a gratifying overall sense of well-being.
Successful dieters share tips to encourage and help you incorporate physical fitness into your daily routine.
First and foremost, before engaging in an exercise program or making major changes in your diet, schedule a check-up with your doctor to avoid injury or damage to your health. If you have health issues or limited mobility, your healthcare provider can help you select activities that will avoid problems or complicate conditions. Once you have a “green light”, you can then establish the perfect routine for your and your type of life.
Exercise simply means any activity that requires bodily effort. Exercise is broken down into two types; light exercise and heavy or strenuous exercise. Every type of exercise is beneficial, although strenuous exercise most benefits cardio fitness. Running, walking, tennis, hiking, golf, bowling, cycling, swimming, dancing, gardening, weight lifting, kickboxing, and yoga all appeal to different people for different reasons.
The important thing to remember is to find a form of exercise that you truly enjoy. Tai chi, Pilates, Zumba and Jazzercise are popular and all great forms of exercise that can help improve posture, flexibility and mobility. Evaluate your interests and find an exercise form that intrigues you now and is likely to still interest you six months from now. Find you bliss pursuing activities that delight and bring your joy. When exercise is boring or drudgery, you are not likely to retain your resolve.
If you hire a trainer or enroll in a gym, pay for your sessions in advance. You are far more inclined to follow through and go to classes if you have already spent the money and allocated the time.
Remember, you don’t have to join a gym or buy special gear to add exercise to your life. Walking is the best exercise of all and it’s free.
Incorporate balance and agility improving exercises into your overall fitness plan. Balance is required for all kinds of exercise and for healthy lifestyle in general. Good balance reduces the risk of injury and especially important for those engaged in competitive sports. Good balance leads to improved coordination and improves body control.
To maintain your motivation, exercise with others. The group dynamic is proven to grant greater endurance and increased energy to everyone in the group. You will find yourself working harder and exercising regularly when others are involved. As an added bonus, it is a lot harder to skip workouts when others are expecting you to show up and be part of the energy of the group.
Realize there are exercise and fitness opportunities everywhere. If you drive to work, clench your abdominal muscles for the length of every stoplight. Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.
If you job involves sitting all day, slip off your shoes, wiggle your toes and rotate your ankles several times a day. It feels good, relaxes tired feet and helps burn off a few more calories than just idly sitting all day.
Avoid taking the most convenient parking place. Leave it for someone with impaired mobility; park in the back of the lot knowing it won’t hurt you to walk a few more steps. Crank up the music and clean house. A couple hours of vigorous sweeping, vacuuming, dusting, moping and shining the windows can be as useful a workout as time spent at the gym. It’s a “win-win” situation – you end up with a sparkling clean house, muscles worked and calories burned.
Consider walking or cycling to work. Not only will you save gas money, you will get in a healthy dose of exercise while doing your part to protect the environment. If you commute via the city transit system or subway, get off a couple of stops early and walk the rest of the way to work. For new moms and dads, a jogging stroller is a helpful piece of exercise. You can get in a good workout while you and baby enjoy nature and a healthy dose of fresh air.
Play with your children. Walk the dog. Take out the garbage. Make it a challenge everyday to find little ways to include a few more steps into your day. Wearing a pedometer is a great motivator for many people. You will find as you move more, you will want to move even more.