Take a Stand and Get Moving: Tips for Overcoming a Sedentary Lifestyle
We all know when the first signs of spring have sprung. Tiny buds on bald trees begin to sprout little green heads, the morning breeze has become tolerable, and our lawn-loving neighbor has begun raking the winter away. With well-intended New Year’s Resolutions long behind us, we might need a little push to get serious about exercise. After being holed up for months, people everywhere finally have outdoor workout options and can appreciate the view that comes along with them. So whether you are a beginner exerciser or just beginning to peek out from the snow, here are a few ideas to get you moving.
Lace Up Your Shoes
Natural, simple and inexpensive, walking is a complete outdoor exercise that anyone can do. Walking on a regular basis lowers blood pressure, increases lung capacity, strengthens core muscles,and lowers our risk of heart disease. In addition, when combined with a healthy diet, walking helps keep weight under control and provides added energy. Explore your own surroundings in your neighborhood or walk, hike or even bike a local trail.
Grab a Buddy
Partnering up with a friend or loved one while you work out in the sunshine is way more fun than doing it alone. Plus, it’s safer. Challenge each other by doing intervals. Walk, jog or cycle for one minute as fast as you can. Then do the same thing, but at a slower pace to rest and recover. Repeat this for most, if not all, of your walk. For variety, try partner workouts with small weighted balls and bands. Check online for videos that demonstrate simple exercises that are safe, fun and good for you and your buddy.
Get on the Court!
Tennis is a life-long sport with huge health benefits including conditioning the heart and boosting self-confidence. If you are new to this net game, invest in a few tennis lessons to see if it’s for you. More than likely, you’ll end up loving the health advantages as well as the social time. Join a local league to find opponents (or partners) suitable for your particular level of play.
Just about anyone can enjoy golf, and although the game isn’t an intense cardiovascular workout, by walking the holes and carrying clubs, players gain big results for the body. Additionally, regular golfers benefit from the social contact and strategy development. So if you’re looking to lessen your handicap or just enjoy the incredible view, cart your clubs and get swinging!
At Work Workout
The hours of 9 to 5 don’t have to be deskbound. Get moving and use your imagination. Chuck the elevator and salute the steps! Walk (or even run) them for a few minutes, since stair climbing burns calories and builds muscle. Conference call? Slip on your sneakers and walk while you talk. Twenty minutes of walking will burn fat, improve mental clarity and provide some fresh air. Make the resistance ball your seat each day. Having to balance yourself will help strengthen abdominal muscles and feel good on your tush!
Pick a Stroke
Get ready for summer by swimming laps in a pool. Swimming is low impact on joints and muscles, but it packs a punch when burning fat and adding muscle mass. Add some fins for leg resistance or use a noodle for upper body work. Try a basic water aerobics class for cardiovascular benefits. With an instructor leading the group, participants get instant form feedback and a challenging push.
You don’t have to leave your own back yard to feel the benefits of exercise. Get your lawn and yourself in shape by mowing, painting or reorganizing that garage! If you have a green thumb, gardening is an easy way to beautify your yard while strengthening and toning. Daily bouts of 30 to 40 minutes of squatting, bending, pulling and raking are great ways to stay fit.
Write It Down
Document your achievements, such as how many minutes you exercise each day, how many steps you walked, that piece of pie you passed up, and the chair yoga class you took. Make a game of it. The more you track your accomplishments, the more you will see yourself in a healthier light.
Set mini exercise goals such as taking a new fitness class, walking a 5K or increasing your weights. Small successes will keep you focused and motivated. Then, reward yourself with something non-food related such as a new dress for that outdoor party or a one-hour massage to relieve some stress.
Be Safe Out There
As with any exercise program, consult your doctor before trying a new sport or activity. Brighter days, warmer temperatures and a variety of fitness choices all put a little more spring in your step. Enjoy the physical and mental benefits of exercising outdoors, while taking advantage of all that vitamin D!