Dear Editor: The benefits of exercise and being active are clear: improved fitness and endurance, reduced risk of disease, help with weight control, improved self-esteem and overall sense of well-being.
But often, everyday life gets in the way and we can find it hard to maintain an active routine.
As we delve into the New Year with fresh resolve to stay (or get) on the fitness track, let’s look at what makes it easy to make active living a part of our daily lives. Here are some ways to boost your perseverance.
Determine why active living is important to you. Health benefits can be the motivation to maintain a more active lifestyle, but relaxation, reduced stress and more energy may be the personal benefits that you get from fitting activity into your daily routine. Know what motivates you.
Establish realistic goals. Set regular, small, specific goals for yourself – ones that you know you can achieve. Taking on a plan beyond your capabilities is a route to failure. To start, just aim to get active everyday, and then celebrate what you accomplish.
Track your progress. Get motivated by recording what you do. For each workout or activity, monitor your heart rate, record your time, keep track of the number of steps you take or the distance you do. Charting can be a great tool to help you add more activity throughout your daily routine.
As you work towards a more active routine, recognize that any increase in your activity is beneficial. Start slow and easy, at an intensity that leaves you feeling good afterwards. You don’t need to reach your fitness goals in the first week or the second. Gradually increase physical activity, lengthen workouts and step up the pace over time.
Find support by partnering up with someone. Having a fitness or activity partner can often be enough motivation and incentive to maintain an active routine.
Alberta Health Services