We all know that exercising is essential for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Yet — do we do it? What if you could permit yourself to start small in your exercise efforts — and still feel good about yourself?
Exercise is essentially movement using various muscle groups. By this definition, almost any sort of activity can be considered exercise. If you use your muscles regularly, the stronger they become.
There are many benefits to exercising, such as increased energy, weight loss, and even reducing the risk of Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease.
Before you begin any new exercise regimen, it is essential that you consult your doctor, start slowly and increase your regimen in simple steps.
Start Exercising Slowly
Leading a healthy lifestyle means eating right, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly. What do you do if exercise is that one thing that you can’t bring yourself to follow through with regularly? We lead busy lives and can always find a reason not to exercise. What if you allow yourself to start slowly? Think about these easy steps:
- Take an extra flight of stairs instead of the elevator.
- Instead of priding yourself in finding the closest parking spot, cheer yourself when you park a little further away and walk to your destination.
- Walk-in place or do some stretching in front of the TV during commercials.
- Every hour or two, stop work and do some stretching.
- Reduce emails and phone calls and take a walk to speak with a co-worker.
- Walk around the block after lunch – this simple act will make a difference in your energy level throughout the afternoon.
- Turn cleaning the house into an exercise experience.
- Create your list of ‘muscle movements throughout the day…keep it simple.
Different Types of Exercising
If you are ready to start a formal fitness program in your life, find an activity that you enjoy doing. Don’t choose an exercise program because everyone else is doing it. If you hate lifting weights or walking on the treadmill, find something that you love to do that gets you up and moving. You’ll be far more successful if you like the activity.
There are different types of exercise, including running, biking, aerobic classes, yoga, and walking. The best strategy for incorporating beneficial exercise into your lifestyle is to do various activities. For instance, a good exercise regimen will include cardio (biking, swimming, running) and weight training.
How about Pilates? This form of exercising is low impact and gentle on the body. Pilates often focuses on the “core” muscles around your midsection. Pilates aims to tone and strengthen the body’s muscles.
Another option to get you moving is to join a sports team. You can choose to play many types of sports depending on your interests: basketball, soccer, volleyball, bowling, or baseball.
Group exercises are another choice that you can make when getting in your weekly quota of physical fitness. Some popular options for group exercises include belly dancing, kickboxing, hip-hop dance, and all levels of step classes. When you exercise with a group of people, you’re often more motivated to keep going since being part of a group with the similar goal of getting in shape is a powerful incentive.
There are specific Chinese forms of exercise that you may want to explore:
- T’ai Chi. This Chinese exercise uses movement to achieve peace and harmony in your mind and body.
- Yoga uses specific body postures to reduce stress, promote relaxation, and relieve the physical symptoms of ill health.
- Martial arts. Use a variety of martial arts, such as Kung Fu, to incorporate exercise into your daily routine.
- Qi Gong. This Chinese activity combines breathing exercises and mental exercises to prevent and treat health problems and diseases.
One mistake that many people make when deciding to get into shape is to tackle the entire concept of “fitness” at one time. Incorporating fitness into your life takes time and won’t happen overnight. Your body, mind, and spirit need time to adjust to the many changes happening as you start to add exercise to your daily routine. Creating fitness in small steps is necessary and will ensure that you’re less likely to quit when you become overwhelmed with the changes in your life.
Exercise is essential if you’re going to lead and maintain a healthy life. Select your favorite form of exercise and stick with it so you can enjoy the benefits of a healthy body and mind.
A Book Recommendation
This book helped me think in terms of creating small steps toward what I wanted to change or add to my life.
One Small Step Can Change Your Life by Robert Maurer, Ph.D. It is an easy-to-read yet profound book that clarifies why it’s better to start small. He explains how small steps circumvent the brain’s built-in resistance to new behavior. He provides an example of an individual he worked with around exercising.
Women’s Group Topics
Help each other be accountable for their physical well-being. Maybe schedule walks together or takes a class together.
“To fully enjoy the ‘richness’ of our lives, we need to stop long enough to visit with ourselves.”
Do you want to download a PDF copy of both of these books, then go to: