Are you tired of the treadmill? Fed up with power walking? The key to sticking with your exercise regimen is to change it up – make it fun. There are many ways to squeeze in a quick heart-pounding workout, and several options for a fun new fitness focused activity.
A common excuse for sedentary lifestyles is that people don’t have time. For years, public health guidelines have suggested 30 continuous minutes of moderate to heavy exercise, 5 days a week. New research shows that 10 minutes here and there of moderate exercise can do just as much good as one longer session. Try to incorporate a couple of daytime activities, such as: walking or running up and down the stairs at your workplace, taking a quick lap around your office building, stretches, lunges and squats at your desk, or even deep breathing with controlled abdominal contractions. Not only will dividing your workout into more manageable time allotments help with the flow of your day, but it will also help to sustain energy levels throughout your workday.
There are several alternative options from the normal ho-hum of the gym that may help to liven up your workout routine. Pilates is a body-conditioning system that emphasizes on building flexibility and strength. This can be done in a group or private setting, with or without equipment and can be led by an instructor or with videotapes. We recommend a session with an instructor for proper technique prior to any at-home workouts. The addition of Pilates to your routine can be useful to care for chronic low-back pain and deconditioning by creating a stronger core.
Yoga promotes strength, flexibility and focus. Studies show that yoga reduces hypertension and the risk of cardiovascular disease in both men and women. Pranayama – a controlled breathing practice used in yoga – can significantly increase your energy levels and work rate and can also enhance non-yoga forms of exercise by reducing your oxygen consumption.
Setting goals and rewarding yourself is another great way to stay on track. Once you have determined your ultimate goal, squeeze in a few smaller ones along the way. Never use food as a reward for yourself. Instead, try something different and fun – such as movie tickets, a mini-shopping spree or even a weekend getaway. Write them down and make an event about reaching each little goal along your way.
There are many activities to get you going and keep you moving. Try something new – hiking, cycling and mountain biking, basketball, racquetball, or water aerobics. Team up with a buddy or join a group in town. Remember, don’t get discouraged - keep it fun.