10 Easy Steps to Everyday Fitness
Get your mind set and body ready to make fitness a daily habit. The secret of your success is found in your everyday routines. Day by day your choices shape your actions: Small, smart, manageable choices will become permanent habits with practice. Consistency is the key to building and maintaining momentum.
1) Consistency is more important than intensity. Each day you should eat and exercise in such a way today that you can face doing it again tomorrow. This is how to gradually establish healthy habits that will serve you throughout life and that you will revert to when life becomes hectic.
2) Get in the habit of exercise to overcome weak willpower. Habits persist even when we’re at low energy and weak self-control. Studies show that we tend to default to a habit when we lack the mental capability to make a choice, for example if we are deliberating about whether or not to exercise. Read more.
3) Accumulate 30 minutes of moderate physical activity most (at least 5) days of the week. Exercise accumulated in short bouts of 10 or 15 minutes offers weight loss and aerobic fitness benefits comparable to those achieved in longer workouts. Think “activity” instead of “workout.” Walk to work, take the steps, lift and carry your groceries, do housekeeping chores energetically. It all counts!
4) Count your steps with your smart phone, pedometer or other tracking device. See how many steps you average and then build on them. Try to add 1000 steps per day every week until you hit 10,000 in a day! People who keep a track record tend to achieve their goals. Read more.
5) Learn to do a proper squat, the #1 functional exercise for life. It’s the movement that we need to get up from a seated position – from a chair, toilet or bathtub. While working the large muscles of the lower body, the squat creates strength and stability to reduce the risk of falling. As a bonus, it helps lift and firm the bottom line!
6) Combat the negative effects of prolonged sitting. Extended sitting slows the body’s metabolism and creates a “lazy biology” raising the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart, kidney and liver disease, and certain kinds of cancers, even if you work out! For every hour you’re sitting, get up and move around for five minutes. Read more.
7) Practice perfect posture. Train yourself to stand up straight: lift the chest, lengthen the torso, roll your shoulders down and back. “Zip up” your abs by drawing your navel back toward your spine. Take a deep breath and notice how good it feels to fill your lungs with air!
8) Wake up your cardio workout. If you are doing the same kind of steady pace cardio routine over and over, say walking or jogging for 30 minutes most days of the week, your body will stop improving because it has adapted to that level of exercise. Add intervals of high intensity or “bursts” to improve fitness levels and burn more calories. Read more.
9) Stay supple with stretching. Relieve morning stiffness and joint pain. Just a few minutes of daily stretching helps maintain flexibility, which in turn keeps the muscles supple and counteracts the wear and tear of everyday life, allowing you to maintain a youthful appearance and active lifestyle. Read more.
10) Be thankful! Science finds that the practice of gratitude improves your health. Studies show it can relieve stress, lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, improve heart rhythms, boost your immune system and reduce the effects of aging on the brain.
Pick a couple of these fitness tips and begin to incorporate them daily. Then add two more as you work down the list. Don’t be discouraged that things aren’t happening faster. It doesn’t mean you won’t get there. As you are developing a new mindset, it takes time for the brain to adjust and program the changes until they become automatic.
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