Though Spring is in the air as the weather gets nicer, you may find yourself still struggling with staying active.
Different people have diverse reasons for not exercising regularly.
Maybe competing demands like family or work responsibilities take precedence over your self- care routine. Sometimes feeling tired or having a low mood can sap your motivation. Or if you don’t enjoy exercise, you may put it last on your to-do list.
No matter where you are in your healthy lifestyle journey, the most important thing to becoming more active is to schedule it in. Be specific and include the time of day and day of the week.
One of the easiest things to do is to start a walking program. Taking regular walks throughout the day is also the best medicine for those suffering with back and hip stiffness from sitting too much at the computer.
Whether you’re able to walk outside if your neighborhood is safe, on a community fitness track, on a treadmill or in an indoor shopping mall, all steps count toward better health.
To build fitness, you can pick up the pace and lengthen the time of your walks.
Exercise programs don’t have to be fancy or expensive to work.
In fact, short bouts of activity called ‘exercise snacks’ can improve your metabolic health.
Here are some tips to help boost enjoyment from your walking workouts:
1 – Upgrade Your Shoes
If it’s been a while since you’ve replaced your athletic shoes and your feet are feeling achy, your shoes may have lost some of their cushion and support. More supportive shoes are also good for other joints like your knees and hips.
A new pair of shoes can literally put the spring back in your step and help you want to get moving more.
2 – Pair Exercise with Something You Enjoy
I’m a firm believer in finding something you enjoy and then pairing it with exercise. This may include listening to an upbeat music playlist, an engaging podcast or audiobook or watching a favorite TV show.
I myself had struggled with doing resistance training at home until we put a TV in our workout room. Many people also look forward to watching their ‘exercise-only’ shows while working out. If your home workout equipment is not being used, consider moving it to a room with a television.
Know that sometimes you may want to just be in nature with your thoughts as you exercise. This can be an enjoyable, calming and revitalizing part of your day.
Being physically active is as good for your mind as it is for your body. With more physical activity, you may notice a boost to your mood and less feelings of stress.
3 – Buddy Up
Buddying up with a friend, family member, coworker, dog or personal trainer can also increase accountability and enjoyment.
Even if you no longer attend fitness classes, fitness apps can give you the group workout class vibe and energy boost through virtual workouts – all from the comforts of your own home.
Remember that sometimes the hardest part of exercising is getting out the door. Once you start moving, you start to feel better and get positive reinforcement from the activity.
Robert Kushner, MD