Are you one of those that make a New Year's Resolution to eat
healthier and start exercising, only to lose interest in your
fitness goals by February? If so, you are not alone. The problem
is that we all know we should eat better and exercise more, but
the hustle and bustle of life interferes and we tend to let it go
by the wayside. The good intention is there but just knowing
something or being told by the doctor is not enough to get the
motivation going. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention, adults should get at least 150 minutes of
exercise a week with activities like brisk walking, biking,
jogging, or swimming, and strength-training sessions 2-3 times a
week. (You should of course check with your health care
practitioner before undertaking an exercise program especially if
you have any specific health conditions.) Studies have shown that
people need more information on actually how to fit exercise into
their busy schedules instead of just the general advice that they
should exercise more or that exercise is good for their health.
The type of exercise is not as important as being sure you are
just doing it and doing it consistently. This is where the
difficulty comes in for many people. Juggling work, family life,
friends, community commitments and all the other things we do on
a daily basis makes it easy to put off exercising and ignore our
fitness goals. Here are some tips on how to make this year
different and help achieve your fitness goals by working exercise
into your everyday life.
Making a Fitness Plan
First while you are all fired up about your New Year's
resolution, make a plan. Actually write down on paper a fitness
goal plan with specific milestones that you can measure. Make
those goals things that are achievable. Set it up in small steps
so you can see your progress and reward yourself for each step
you accomplish. Find the resources you need to be able to do the
steps. Here's an example:
Goal: I will walk 2 miles a day.
Step 1: I will walk ¼ mile a day.
Plan: I will park in a parking space across the parking lot from
the building I am going into each time I drive someplace (ie. -
Resources: Pedometer or cellphone app to measure my walking
Reward: Afternoon treat of a cup of fat free frozen yogurt.
Step 2: I will walk ½ mile a day.
Plan: Continue parking far away and add I will get up from my
desk at work 3 times a day and walk around the block.
Resources: An alarm on cellphone or clock that can be set for 3
specific times as a reminder it's time to walk.
Reward: Get a pedicure and facial at the neighborhood day spa.
And so on, you get the idea.
Plan to Keep Motivation Momentum
For some activities you may need to schedule them in just like
you would a doctor's appointment or a meeting. If your fitness
goal is a priority for you then isn't meeting your fitness goal
and improving your health just as important as any other
appointment or meeting you have on your calendar? Some people may
find it helpful to keep a running log of their accomplishments.
Seeing small daily improvements may motivate them to keep going.
Others will find this to be just one more task to keep up with
and not find it helpful. When you are making your plan though,
consider those things that in the past have interfered with your
exercising and make a contingency plan. For example, if you go to
an exercise class or exercise at a gym and have to cancel to stay
home with a sick child. You know this situation may occur, so
write into your plan what you can do that will replace this
activity. Maybe in this case you will find an exercise program on
the television or internet and do that workout instead.
Some people also find getting a fitness partner helpful in
keeping on task. Two people with similar fitness goals can help
keep each other motivated and make them both more accountable for
showing up for the scheduled exercise. Be creative and think
about ways you can add in extra time doing physical activity
around your environment and situation. I work at my desk at the
computer for most of my work day. I have sticky notes with
various exercises I have found through the internet and want to
do each day stuck on a board in front of me. I find that if I set
my cellphone alarm for every hour of the day, pick one of the
sticky notes to do and then return to work, I get in a lot of
exercises and feel better at the end of the day. Before I started
this program, I would be stiff and drooping by the end of the day
just sitting at a desk for several hours.
The Convenience Factor
Another thing to consider in your fitness goal plan is making
your steps convenient. Don't set yourself up for activities that
you know are going to be hard to accomplish. For example, don't
set up going to an exercises class during your lunch break that
is on the other side of town. You know something will come up at
work that will make it impossible to get away on time and that
you will end up skipping the class. Once you skip it one time it
is easier to continue skipping class when it is not convenient.
Instead look for activities that you can easily do within your
time frames and situations like taking the stairs instead of the
elevator at work, walking to your friends house instead of
driving, walking your children to and from school instead of
driving them in the car.
Healthy Eating for Exercise Support
Now that you have the exercise part of your fitness plan down,
it's time to consider the healthy eating part. You need to fuel
your body with the right nutrition to help you stick to your
fitness plan. Add vitamin and mineral-dense foods to your diet.
Drink plenty of water, especially during the winter. Antioxidants
will also keep your body limber and flexible which makes
exercising easier. Foods rich in antioxidants include berries,
garlic, carrots, soy, and whole grains. If you can't get
antioxidants on a regular basis in your diet, you can take
pill-based supplements such vitamins E, C, and A (in the form of
beta-carotene). Blue-green algae and spirulina also offer strong
natural sources of antioxidant nutrition.
Here are some other food sources that will support the exercise
portion of your fitness plan:
Make this New Year's health resolution the best ever by making it
one that you can realistically accomplish and get you on the road
to better health. With these simple tips and a little planning
ahead you can start on the road to a healthier you!
- Add plant based foods to your diet that have antioxidant and
phytochemicals. These may decrease COX-2 enzyme activity and
reduce joint inflammation. Vegetables, fruits, nuts, teas and
yes, even chocolate fall into this category.
- Increase foods containing omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon
- ASU, Chondroitin, and Glucosamine are useful for supporting
cartilage and ligaments which in turn support and protect joints.
- Chondroitin, Flax, Glucosamine, Indian Frankincense and MSM can
aid in increased joint mobility.
- Wheat sprouts and algae offer balanced proportions of
antioxidant-A, to help your body fight damaging, inflammation
creating free radicals, and help protect against the stresses
your joints experience from increased physical activity.
- Coenzyme Q10 or ubiquinol, the active and bioavailable form of Coenzyme Q10, support the body in neutralizing free radicals and stopping their
destruction that can result in headaches, backaches, muscle
aches, and pain in joints and ligaments.
- A stem cell support supplement, combining green tea extract,
wild blueberry, carnosine (an antioxidant amino acid), vitamin D,
blueberry extract and blue green algae. works to support the
growth of adult stem cells and fight the free radicals that can
cause joint pain.