We all understand that getting regular physical exercise will make you healthier and happier. Keeping physically active is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. But unfortunately many of us feel we don’t have the time or motivation to exercise regularly.
The good news is, it doesn’t take much to make a difference: as little as 30 minutes moderate exercise a day has fantastic health benefits. So if you’re not as fit and healthy as you could be, now’s the time to get started on a fresh exercise regime.
Why be active?
Scientific evidence clearly links regular physical activity to a wide range of physical and mental health benefits. People who enjoy regular physical activity tend to:
- Live longer.
- Reduced risk for heart attack, cardiac disease or stroke.
- Reduced risk of developing diabetes, metabolic syndrome and some cancers.
- Feel more energetic.
- Manage their weight better.
- Have a healthier blood cholesterol level.
- Have lower blood pressure.
- Have stronger bones and muscles.
- Feel more confident and happy.
- Sleep better.
The good news is that the important health benefits associated with physical activity can be gained through moderate intensity activity, such as walking, swimming, gardening or playing golf. This 30 minutes can be broken down into 10 minute blocks, making the daily amount of physical activity recommended much easier to achieve for busy people.
People who wish to be active in a more intense manner by participating in activities such as organized sports, aerobics, cycling, jogging/running and specialized at-home workouts such as Team Beachbody’s INSANITY, P90X and TurboFire should continue to do so as these activities can provide additional health benefits.
How Do I Start?
Always choose an activity you enjoy at a time convenient to you.
Be active every day in as many ways as you can:
- Make a habit of walking or cycling instead of using the car.
- Park your car further away so that you can get in a brisk walk to the door.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator and walk up escalators.
- Get off the train or bus a stop earlier and walk the extra distance.
- Do some work in your backyard or garden.
- Engage in active play with your children.
- Choose a walking meeting instead of sitting in an office.
- Pace in your office while on a conference/phone call.
- Walk to your work colleague’s desk rather than texting or using the phone.
- Choose to take a walk, run or just jog in place when you are stressed.
- Take your dog for a walk.
Many people find it motivating to exercise with friends or as part of a group:
- Join or start a local walking/jogging group.
- Find a Team Beachbody Coach and join Team Beachbody’s club for daily motivation and support.
- Get together colleagues at work and organize a “health and fitness” support group.
- Join a Team Beachbody Challenge Group for the support to reach your goals.
You are more likely to be committed if you schedule physical activity into your weekly routine.
- Think ahead and plan what activity you are going to do on each day of the week.
- Think of the times that suit you to be active, whether it be in the morning, at lunchtime or in the evening.
- Record your weekly activity plan in a diary or calendar.
- Build an activity routine – before long it will come as naturally as getting out of bed.
How Do I Prevent Setbacks?
- Review the times that you are being active – do they still fit in with your lifestyle?.
- Try a new activity if you are battling boredom. Team Beachbody has numerous at-home fitness programs to reach all levels and interests.
- Don’t let the holidays sabotage your schedule. Be ready and anticipate the stress and extra activity around the holidays.
- If you feel too tired to exercise remember that physical activity can help increase your energy levels. Just do it!
- Find a friend with similar interests. Join a Team Beachbody Challenge Group and/or online club community. You will be more likely to keep your routine when you are held accountable and have support from people just like you.
What About My Diet?
Our research shoes that weight maintenance, life long health benefits and a reduced risk for many major diseases and illnesses comes from a lifestyle that includes 70-80% healthy diet and nutrition and 20-30% activity. You should, therefore, be complementing your physical activity program with a healthy diet.
The United States Department of Agriculture (www.choosemyplate.gov) recommends that you should:
- Focus on fruits and vegetables. One half of your plate should contain a variety of fruits and vegetables.
- Make at least one half of your grains WHOLE grains. Whole grains include: whole wheat flour, bulgar, oatmeal, whole cornmeal and brown rice. If you are gluten sensitive choose from options in the “gluten-free” section of your local grocery store.
- Choose low fat/fat free, calcium-rich dairy products.
- Go lean and stay varied with protein choices…meats, poultry, seafood, beans and peas and nuts and seeds.
- If you drink alcohol, limit your intake.
- Reduce/eliminate added sugars and artificial sweeteners.
- Go light on the salt.
- Eat foods containing iron. This is particularly important for girls, women, vegetarians and athletes.
New research supports that it can take an average of 66 days to form a habit. Please don’t give up on yourself! The small decisions to be active and eat healthy everyday WILL compound into great rewards down the road. Start small…easy and manageable steps. I know you can do it!