Showing posts with label Exercise. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Exercise. Show all posts

15 January 2021

How To Make Exercise A Daily Habit

 Leo Babauta

Recently my friend and fellow blogger
 Scott Young did a great post entitled, “New to exercise? Make workouts daily“. It was an excellent post, and perfectly timed as it mirrors my own recent efforts at making exercise a daily habit.

The problem with trying to make exercise a habit, and it’s something that we’ve all faced, is that you usually try to exercise 3 or 4 times a week, and that makes creating a new exercise habit difficult. The reason is that the more consistent action is, the more likely it is to be a habit.

Therefore, as Scott points out, and it’s something I fully agree with, exercising every day is more likely to result in a habit — something that becomes almost automatic, and much easier, instead of a constant struggle.

I’ve been implementing this idea in my daily life recently, alternating every day between different exercises: running, swimming, biking, and strength workouts, as a way of reaching my goal of completing an Olympic-distance triathlon this year. I’m going to continue this habit change into the month of May. I made daily running a habit last year when I was training for my first marathon, but this year I stopped when I got sick, so I’m re-starting the habit formation.

If you’re going to make this a habit, do a 30-day Challenge, and by the end of the challenge your habit should be pretty well ingrained. Here are some practical suggestions I’ve learned along the way to help make exercise a daily habit:

  1. Set a time. Decide whether you’re more likely to stick with it in the morning or lunchtime or evening and stick with that time. I’ve set the time of 5:30 a.m. every day, and I’m trying my best not to vary from that time. If you don’t set a time, you’re more likely to put it off until you have more time or energy, and then put it off until the next day. Soon, it’s not a habit at all.
  2. Send yourself a reminder. I use Memo to Me, but there are several ways to send yourself an email or text reminder, so you’ll never forget. Then, when you get the reminder, do it right away. Don’t brook any delays.
  3. Start small. This is perhaps the most useful suggestion of all. When I exercise, I always start with lots of energy, enthusiasm, and ambition. I think I can do more than I can. However, doing too much, in the beginning, leads to burnout, which leads to quitting your habit. When you first try to make exercise a daily habit, chances are, your body won’t be used to that kind of stress. The key: only do 20 minutes in the beginning and do it nice and easy. Nothing hard. Even 10-15 minutes is fine at first if you’re just starting out. The key is to get out there, get your body slowly used to daily exercise, and form that habit.
  4. Progress later. Once your body is used to daily exercise, you can slowly start to increase the amount and intensity of your exercise. Wait at least two weeks before increasing — that’s the minimum your body needs to adjust. Once it feels way too easy, you can start increasing the length of your workouts, to 30 and then 40 minutes, and eventually up to an hour. Once you do that, you can accumulate the intensity — running faster or harder, for example. Try not to increase both distance and intensity at the same time.
  5. Make it pleasurable. If you associate a habit with pain, you will shy away from it. But if it’s fun, you’ll look forward to doing it. That’s why, in this beginning stage of my new habit, I’ve been focusing on pleasure. I go slowly, enjoying the scenery, the fresh morning air, the beautiful sky as the sun rises, the quiet time of solitude and contemplation. It’s actually something I enjoy doing. An mp3 player with some great music helps.
  6. Layout your gear. The fewer obstacles and less friction there is informing your new habit, the more likely you are to be successful. If you have to not only wake up early but get a bunch of gear together while half-awake, you might just want to go back into bed. But if you lay out your workout clothes and shoes and watch and mp3 player, or whatever you need for your exercise, you’ll be ready to go with no friction at all.
  7. Just head out the door. My rule is just to get my running shoes on and get out the door. I don’t worry about how long I have to go or how hard it will be. Just get out and get started. Once I’ve done that, it’s a piece of cake.
  8. Mix it up. One thing I like about triathlon training is that daily exercise isn’t boring — instead of running every single day, now I’ve got a variety of sports to do, and that makes it much more interesting. But perhaps just as important is that with each sport, I’m using different muscles, especially with swimming. Sure, some same muscles are used, but they’re used differently with different stresses on them. What that means is that I’m not pounding the same muscles, every day. That gives them a chance to recover, because, without recovery, you’re just breaking your muscles down over and over.
  9. Have a relative rest day. Again, recovery is very important. This is why you need to give your body a chance to rest? If you’re taking it easy and only doing 20 minutes, you should be OK without rest days. But it’s still good to have one day of rest, where you’re not doing the same exercises as the other six days. You don’t want to skip the day completely, because then you’re not being consistent with your habit. That’s why I do one day of strength training, where I don’t use the same muscles as swimming, biking, and running. If you need more rest, you could just do 20 minutes of walking, or even just a session of meditation. The key is to do something every day, preferably something that gets you moving (meditation isn’t the best example, but at least you’d be doing something) and keeps your habit formation going.
  10. Don’t skip a day. It’s easy to say, “No problem, I’ve been doing it for five days … I’ll just skip today!” But that will make your habit formation harder. Consistency is key, so try not to skip a single day. If you do, don’t beat yourself up, don’t judge, don’t feel bad — everyone messes up sometimes, and habit formation is a skill that requires practice. Just start your 30-day challenge over again and try to identify the obstacle that led to your skipping a day and prepare for it this time.

21 November 2020

Moderate Exercises to Fitness

By Philisa Nhlahla

Here are some moderate exercises you can do and enjoy:

1. Do the Walking. Make use of your surroundings. You can walk your dog, with your partner or child. Encourage your family to do the walking exercise daily and you will find yourself burning calories while enjoying the surroundings and getting enough sunlight that is also good for your body.

2. Discover the wonders of Yoga. Yoga is one effective exercise that energizes not only your body but also your soul. You may want to learn even the basic yoga positions that are not too complicated but proven effective. A five-minute yoga exercise can perk you up and recharge your body with the energy you lost for the whole day. You relax and at the same time you stretch!

3. Engage yourself into sports. Play basketball, football, baseball, tennis or badminton. Many doctors have recommended sports as an effective way to stay fit and healthy. Sports can also be done in moderation. Do not take it seriously. Shooting basketball with a friend is one moderate exercise that is also considered a sport.

4. Join exercise programs at work. If you still do not have exercises programs at work, then why not start it? You can talk to your boss about it and start with your colleagues. You do not only lose calories but it is also one good way to bond with them. This can be done 30 minutes, 3 times a week.

5. Exercise while doing household chores. Gardening, raking leaves, lawn mowing, doing the laundry, vacuuming and car washing are effective moderate exercises at home. Make use of these chores to sweat and burn calories. Instead of using machines and gadgets to perform these chores, why not do it with your hands and lose some fats?

Making exercises as part of your daily routines will surprise you of how much calories you will lose. Doing these moderate exercises of the same amount every day can burn 150 calories up to 1,000 calories a day!

Some of the things you can do:

Duck walks - walk like a duck; squat down and stay put, then start walking. Repeat as necessary.

Doing outdoor exercises the right way is hard, but the benefits you can get can't be easily ignored.

Uphill sprints - try this exercise only if you can do a 100 meter dash. This is carried out by running uphill. Find a decent-sized hill and run up fast. Then walk right down. Just keep on repeating.

14 October 2020

Working Out With Yor Significant Other

Should You Be Working Out with Your S.O.?

By Nicole Bowling

My fiancĂ© and I will be saying “I do” in just a few short months. So #sweatingforthewedding has become a theme in my household. And while we go
 to the gym together all the time, we rarely work out together. I’m usually over here, he’s over there, and we high five when we cross paths between sets. That recently changed, though, when we signed up to run our first half marathon together this spring. Now, we are training together. Long Monday night runs have become a tradition, and we work out on the treadmills side by side as often as possible.

I can attest: Although I’m generally a fan of solo workouts, having a goal to work toward in tandem with my man has been a fun, not to mention butt-kicking, experience. This is no great surprise, as there are documented advantages to working out with your S.O. that can benefit you both.
Read on to find out if couples who sweat together, really stay together.
What’s better about working out together?
Here’s a look at some of the potential benefits of getting sweaty with your partner.
1. It provides accountability
If you need a push to get out of bed in the morning for your 5 a.m. workout, setting goals with your partner could be the solution. If they’re up and ready to go, you’ll be more likely to get your sweat session done instead of hitting snooze for the next hour. Having an accountability partner can make you stick to your guns, even on days when a workout is the last thing you want to do.
2. It brings happiness to your relationship
Exercise makes you a happier person individually. (Thanks, endorphins!) If you participate in physical activity with your partner, you get to experience that together. Pushing and motivating each other, then experiencing results, creates positivity to bond over.
3. It increases your emotional bond
According to Psychology Today, working out with your partner — running at the same pace, lifting weights in rhythm, or tossing a medicine ball back and forth — creates “nonverbal matching.” Nonverbal matching helps people feel “emotionally attuned with one another.” Those who experience or engage in it tend to report greater feelings of bonding with their partner.
4. It establishes mutual commitment and the importance of physical activity in a relationship
If you and your partner make working out together a regular thing, you establish a common goal and respect that physical activity is important, for yourselves and your relationship. A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine showed that individuals are more likely to make a positive health behavior change if their partner does, too. Go ahead and make a daily workout part of your routine together to strengthen your foundation.

Nicole Bowling is a Boston-based writer, ACE-certified personal trainer, and health enthusiast who works to help women live stronger, healthier, happier lives. Her philosophy is to embrace your curves and create your fit — whatever that may be! She was featured in Oxygen magazine’s “Future of Fitness” in the June 2016 issue.

31 August 2020

Why Dancing For Exercise Is More Fun


By Michel Maling

If you hate exercising the traditional way in the gym, why not try some dancing. You are bound to find a style that will suit you.

There are many different forms of dancing, and there is something for every taste and style. It is just a matter of finding the style that is right for you.

If you are the type of person who likes slow controlled forms of exercising like martial arts or Pilates, then you will more than likely enjoy ballet. Ballet movements are also slow, controlled and very focused. What women doesn't want to have the lean lines and flexibility of a professional ballet dancer.

Ballet, even though it is slow and controlled, is not at all an easy choice, but if you like the discipline of getting things perfect, you will love it. Ballet exercises develop your poise and flexibility, as well as condition and tone up all the key muscle groups. Ballet is weight bearing, as you stand the entire class, so your bone density will be improved. It will help with posture related headaches and back pain as you get older.

A ballet class will take a lot of endurance and control, but the results will amaze you.

Hip Hop dancing is another popular exercise choice. It's fun, cardio and strength training all rolled up into one workout. Hip hop may look quite freestyle, but it is actually built up from well established movements which involve popping (contracting and relaxing muscles), locking (freezing a pose), krumping and cutting.

In a hip hop class you will start out by learning the basic movements, and then it is up to you to listen to the music and mix up the combos to create your own style and dances. Completing the combinations will give you a sense of achievement and because the movements are so fast, your brain as well as your heart will get a great workout.

Keep your body loose and your chest low to get the most out of your hip hop workout. This in turn will give your thighs, calves, butt and back a serious workout. You will also build stronger bones, as you are constantly stressing your bones with explosive movements.

The joy of dancing for exercise is that it is so much fun. Only when the music stops and you walk out of the class will you realize that you have just given your body a great all over workout.

Michel Maling has enjoyed dancing all her life. She teachers classical ballet, hip hop, and modern.

04 March 2020

7 Surprising Benefits of Working Out as a Couple

By Mandy Enright

Does the thought of going to the gym with your boyfriend have you picturing his Grunt Face while heavy lifting?  Or constantly waiting for your girlfriend to finish up on the treadmill bring tears of boredom to your eyes?  These are some of the reasons that discourage couples from exercising together.  But did you know that separate workouts can actually be doing your relationship a disservice?  Couples exercising together strengthen both their bodies and relationship.  Working out as a couple can make the most important muscle of all stronger: the heart. Get these benefits of working out as a couple.

1. Spend quality time together
While cuddling up on the couch after work is one way to spend time with your honey, a better way to multi-task is exercising together.  Go for a jog together or take turns spotting weight reps as you catch up on your days.  You can also test how hard you’re working by doing the Talk Test- if you can still have a conversation with ease, then you need to increase the intensity of your workout.

2. Constant motivation
Research continues to show that couples engaging in fitness together are more likely to stick to an exercise plan.  Not only is the effort of getting to the gym sometimes a major hurdle, but also making the most of your workout and challenging yourself.  Your significant other becomes a cheerleader and conscience all in one.  And if you live together, that motivation follows you home.  Pizza and beer for dinner?  Not after that tough workout!

3. Improve the efficiency of your workout
Are you more efficient at work if your boss is hovering around?  When your partner has their attention on you during a workout, you’re more likely to push yourself a little harder without even realizing it. And what harm is there with a little friendly competition of doing more reps than your partner?

4. The Guilt-Free Workout
Our days get busy, and fitting in a workout can take time away from the people important to us.  But exercising together is another way of not only spending time together but lessens the guilt of neglecting your partner or your own health.  And who needs to spend time worrying if your partner is really at the gym, or staring at the attractive trainer across the room when you’re too busy out-repping them to care.

5. Be happier in your relationship

Participating in intense exercise alone stimulates endorphins. Exercising with your partner can intensify endorphins released as you both work towards a physical challenge that can make you feel more satisfied and in love with your partner.  Joint exercising creates a sense of “nonverbal mimicry”, which allows you to fall into pace with each other, match breathing, and find a rhythm during reps.  Becoming more in sync with our partner deepens the emotional connection.  Spotting a partner also provides a sense of commitment and security towards the relationship.

6. Exercise is foreplay
Exercise unleashes symptoms similar to physical arousal - sweaty palms, heart beating out of chest, and difficulty catching breath.  Use this to your advantage throughout the workout and fall in love all over again.  Hey, those sweaty clothes need to come off sometime, right?

7. Get out of a rut
Individuals are less likely to change their exercise routine when working out alone.  This causes the body to no longer be challenged, less successful results, and ultimately boredom that can cause giving up. But when a partner is involved, you’re more willing to branch out of your comfort zone. They may teach you something new.  Or help you progress with certain exercises.  If you have separate fitness interests, training together is a great way of introducing your favorite moves without dragging your partner to a Pilates or Crossfit class kicking and screaming.

Mandy Enright is a certified Dietitian Nutritionist specializing in Nutrition Communications, Corporate Wellness, Yoga & Fitness Training, and Mealtime Solutions.

08 February 2020

How To Get More From Your Treadmill Training

By Beverleigh H Piepers

If you are someone who is interested in getting fit and improving your heart health, walking, jogging, or running might be natural choices for you. Many people find one of these to be a perfect way to help improve their health and they go on to do so, seeing great results.

But, if you are currently using your treadmill and not seeing ideal results, you need to ask yourself "why is this?" What could be preventing you from seeing the success you desire? The answer is often a few simple things. By following these tips, you can ensure you get more from your treadmill training and go on to see the best results possible...

1. Use The Incline Feature. Many people are using treadmills but are neglecting to use the incline feature, and this is one of the worst things you could do. The incline feature can dramatically transform your workout, allowing you to burn more calories, improve your cardio conditioning, and strengthen your muscles all at the same time.

It is a must-use if you are working out on a treadmill. The best thing about the incline feature is it can give you a similar workout intensity as running but without the harmful impact on your joints. The result? You feel better after each workout.

2. Hands Off Those Rails. How many times have you seen someone going along on the treadmill while leaning on the rails? Too many times to count! Leaning on the rails is something you must avoid. While you can use them for support, realize this is going to take away from how hard your lower body has to work. If you want to optimize your results, keep your hands away from the handlebars at all times.

If you are struggling to keep your balance, consider you may be exercising at a pace too hard for your body's abilities.

3. Utilize Intervals To The Best Of Your Abilities. Another smart move? Interval training. Don't let the name scare you.

Many people think interval training has to mean ultra-intense exercise that nearly knocks the wind out of you. And in some cases, this is what it means, but it doesn't have to. You can do interval training simply alternating harder bouts of exercise with easier ones as your body becomes used to the intense pace. If you exercise this way, you will slowly see your fitness level increase, and soon you will be able to exercise at a higher intensity level at all times.

4. Track Your Results. Finally, do not forget to track your progress: this is the most critical part because it will show you which techniques are working for your body and which ones are leaving you struggling to see the results you desire.

Keeping tabs on your workouts takes a bit of effort, but it is well worth the time you put in.
If you keep all the above in mind, you should have no problem seeing the success you desire.
Although managing Type 2 diabetes can be very challenging, it is not a condition you must just live with. Make simple changes to your daily routine - include exercise to help lower both your blood sugar levels and your weight.