By Rita Chavez
A new year has started, and with that, new resolutions and goals are made. One of the most popular resolutions is to become fitter and healthier in the new year, which is an amazing resolution to have! It is always encouraging to see people wanting to improve their health. Here are a few helpful tips to help you kick start your resolution into leading a healthy lifestyle!
A good first step to get consistent on your fitness journey is to carve a specific time out of your schedule each day to work out. Having a schedule will give you more incentive to exercise even when your motivation is low, and if you already have a dedicated time in your day to do it, you may be more likely to follow through since there is nothing else scheduled in that time frame. I have learned for myself that mid-morning is the ideal time for me to work out. My kids are off to school at this time and it’s before I do my daily errands and chores before they come home from school.
Sometimes, people make the mistake of doing too many things when they are first starting out on their fitness journey and can easily get burnt out. Then they just fall off the wagon, and stop working out altogether. Ideally, if you have not worked out before, just taking some time to move your body 3-4 times a week is a great place to start. It could be a brisk 20 minute walk, or light jogging or biking. Once you have gotten the consistency of this down and it becomes routine after a few weeks, you can start adding more days and more exercises into your regimen. I have personally gone through this cycle of trying to fit a rigorous exercise regimen into my schedule when I have gone from not working out at all, and I have felt overwhelmed and overly exhausted just trying to keep up. I tried to start an intense home workout program after not working out for over a year and I only lasted a few weeks before quitting. I finally started going to a yoga class twice a week, after a month I started biking on a stationary bike on other days, and after about 4 months I started going to group workout classes that provided more intensity.
One thing that turns people off on their fitness journeys is not really enjoying what they are doing for fitness. Exercise should be fun and something you look forward to; after all, it releases endorphins! One style of exercise does not fit all. You may find that weight lifting or running is really boring, so don’t be afraid to try something new! You may surprise yourself with what you enjoy. Some people really enjoy doing group classes while others enjoy working out in the privacy of their own home. Try the different classes your gym or Y has to offer, or try out some home programs. There are so many different options out there now for you to enjoy!
A huge aspect that should not be ignored on your fitness journey is REST DAYS. Once you start working out consistently you may be tempted to keep it up. But scheduling rest days to let your body recover and build muscle is so important. Taking at least one rest day a week is important, even if you are feeling good and not sore from the prior days’ workouts. It is also equally important to listen to your body and take rest days as needed if your body feels it, even if it is not your regularly scheduled rest day. You could make it an active rest day and still get some movement in with light stretching or a very leisurely walk.
It goes without saying that nutrition goes hand in hand with fitness. Think of your nutrition as the gas that powers your engine for working out. If you put good things in, you will put good things out! Here are a few simple things you can do to kick start better nutrition habits. Drink more water. So many people, including me, struggle with drinking enough water. Take a water bottle with you wherever you go and try to refill it throughout the day, and drink from it instead of getting a soda when you are out to eat. Next, try to add vegetables to each of your meals. Start by adding more veggies to one meal of your day for a few weeks, then add it to a second, and so on until it starts to become a habit. What I find easiest to always have my veggies easily accessible is by roasting them in large batches. That way I can just quickly reheat them in the microwave. And last is to make sure you are eating three well balanced meals throughout the day. Make sure you are filling your plate will veggies, and a good serving of protein and healthy carbs and fats. As parents we can sometimes put our plates on the back burner; I am occasionally guilty of doing this on school mornings! Just as you carve time out for your workouts, you should also make time for your food. Sit down and enjoy your nourishing meals when you can.
Hopefully all these tips and pointers will get you off on a good step to achieving your resolutions of living a healthier lifestyle! Remember to be consistent, find a style of workout that you enjoy, take your rest days, and nourish your body for your workouts.
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