Hi! Welcome to Fit, Food, and Fun Fridays! Today we’ll discuss 4 strategies for developing an appreciation for exercise. Do you truly enjoy exercising? Or does it seem more like a chore? If the thought of putting your body through strenuous drills is keeping you from working out, then it’s time to switch things up.
It’s a well-known fact that people who exercise regularly are healthier and happier. But what if you’re the type of person who dreads the gym and thinks it’s just a bunch of cardio? You may sometimes feel like working out is a chore. That’s because it can be. The truth is that many people enjoy the process of working out. You just need to find ways to make it a fun and enjoyable experience.
Exercise is a way to take control of your health and life. It’s a means of getting to know yourself on a deeper level. It’s a way to take time out of your day for you to think about what you value. It’s a way to clear your head or wind down after a long day. What’s more, there are many ways to exercise: running, hiking, walking, swimming, yoga and more. Now, we’re going to take a look at how you can get more out of your exercise.
With some willpower and focus, you can jumpstart your new relationship with exercise today!
Exercise is a necessity in order to maintain good health. Now you just need to find a way to make it more enjoyable! You can learn to develop an appreciation for exercise if you take the time to incorporate activities you enjoy.
Try these strategies to help change your mind-set about exercise:
1. Find a sport you love.
One of the simplest ways to ensure you get a great workout is to choose something you enjoy doing. That could mean identifying a sport that you’ve played leisurely or trying out a new activity. Remember you burn calories through movement, so you’re really not restricted to time in the gym!
- Racquet sports are excellent calorie burners! Consider tennis if you have a partner or choose squash if you’re working out on your own.
- Swimming is extremely effective at building strength and endurance. If you’re looking for structure, try a water aerobics class. Otherwise, swim in a pool on hot summer days!
2. Reward yourself after completing a challenge.
Before you start working out, set goals for yourself with accompanying rewards.
- Knowing that there’s something enticing waiting for you at the end of an exercise session can motivate you to get through it.
- Pamper yourself with manicures, pedicures, facials, or massages after you’ve made it through a grueling workout or reached a specific fitness goal. Taking a day off from the gym is also a great reward.
3. Incorporate a favorite pastime into your workouts.
Focusing on something enjoyable while exercising can be a welcome distraction from the physical challenges. Then you’re done before you know it!
- When walking on the treadmill, plug in your earphones and blast your favorite tunes. Listening to music is a great diversion that can also be very energizing.
- Bring a book to read during that first 30 minutes on the spinning bike. This will keep the muscle burn from feeling so intense. A great suspense novel could be the perfect choice so that you’re completely engaged.
4. Focus on your health.
The easiest way to develop an appreciation for exercise is to consider the benefits to your overall health. Keep in mind that exercise helps maintain healthy vitals. On the other hand, limited exercise can result in developing ill health.
- Are you genetically prone to high cholesterol or hypertension? Check your family history to find out. Remaining active will keep your risks minimal or non-existent.
- Note how you’re feeling when exercise is a regular part of your daily life. You’ll find that you’re more energetic and your mind is sharper.
Take a shot at these strategies and you’ll see that in no time, exercise will be more like an enjoyable part of your day and less like an undesirable imposition. Even when it’s difficult, give your body the treatment it deserves.
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I really wanted to talk about this topic today because the overweight and obesity epidemic is at an all-time high! We are a fat society and it’s killing us prematurely. Not only do I truly believe that you have the power to lose weight to improve your health, but the science also agrees! You can adopt healthy lifestyle practices that improve your health and enrich your life, which can in turn improve the lives of those close to you. You have the power to break the cycle of obesity so that you can leave a legacy of health to your loved ones.
I use lifestyle medicine as the first line of treatment, before medications, to treat lifestyle-related chronic diseases. Lifestyle-related chronic diseases include diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and some cancers, just to name a few. Lifestyle practices, such as eating a whole-food plant-based diet and regular physical activity, can help you lose weight, and maybe reverse some of your chronic diseases. In certain cases, these approaches may even outperform pharmaceutical therapy.
Since weight management is very important in combatting chronic diseases, I recommend that you be mindful of your weight and its fluctuations, and that you monitor your weight AT LEAST on a weekly basis. I recommend a scale that includes a body composition monitor (*this scale cannot be used with a pacemaker or other implanted devices):
Physical activity (or exercise) can improve your health and reduce the risk of developing several chronic diseases like high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and cancer, just to name a few. Physical activity can improve your mood, boost your immune system, and even help you maintain a healthy weight.
I often recommend yoga and resistance training for physical activity, but as you are aware, there are plenty of forms of “movement” that you can do! But for the basics, especially if you’re just getting started, yoga and resistance training are where I would start.
Yoga can be a great way to improve your strength and flexibility, manage your stress, improve your heart health, and lose weight! I recommend using a grounded yoga mat to connect yourself with the earth and reduce inflammation.
Resistance training is the mainstay for overall health. It not only has beneficial effects on reducing body fat, it also increases muscle size and strength. Here are some basic dumbbells/free weights that I recommend to everyone.
Another alternative for dumbbells/free weights are resistance bands. They are great for physical therapy, yoga, strength training, and excellent for traveling:
Remember, living a healthy lifestyle including eating a whole foods plant-based diet, regular physical activity, and reducing stress are the best ways to maintain a healthy weight. Let me know what you think in the comment section below.
PS. I am always asked what tools and resources I recommend to help you reach YOUR health goals. Here is the ever-growing, always updated list for you.
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