Love Your Workout: 3 Steps to Embrace an Active Lifestyle and Enjoy Exercise

2/21/2024

Did you know sitting on the couch for long periods of time can impact your health? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around $117 billion in annual healthcare costs are related to low physical activity. A "couch potato" or inactive lifestyle can cause chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis, and even increase feelings of depression or anxiety. The good news is that YOU are in control of your lifestyle! You can shift your daily activities to meet your exercise needs by doing things you enjoy! 

Know What Your Body Needs

Adults need 150 minutes -or 2 hours and 30 minutes- of moderate-intensity physical activity each week, according to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, published by the US Department of Health and Human Services. These numbers can initially feel intimidating, but remember, you can meet your daily goal by doing small chunks of movement- just 30 minutes daily. If you need to split those 30 minutes into smaller intervals, you can still benefit from 10-minute movement sessions. 

You might think, "How intense is moderate-intensity physical activity?". Moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity means working hard enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat. One sign you have entered the moderate-intensity zone is that you can still talk while doing this activity, but it would be difficult to sing.  

Eventually, when you are ready for a more significant challenge, you can build vigorous-intensity movement into your routine. During vigorous-intensity movements, your heart rate will increase significantly, and you'll breathe heavily. It will become difficult to say more than a few words without stopping to catch your breath. 

Build YOUR Perfect Workout Routine

Three things to consider when building your exercise routine that will help you stay committed to an active lifestyle: 1.) choose exercises you enjoy, 2.) plan it out, and 3.) reset or adjust your routine as needed. 

#1 Choose exercises you enjoy

The word "exercise" might already have you spiraling at the thought of having to run or do burpees. Guess what? You don't have to choose those exercises if you don't like them. Choose activities you already know you like or are excited to try. This will make it easier for you to follow through and less likely to make excuses. Are you already facing negative emotions about your plan? Set your intentions and shift the mood with your favorite music and a fun workout drink. 

#2 Plan it out

At the beginning of the week or the day before, plan the time and place you will exercise. It may help to lay out your workout clothes or pack your gym bag in advance. If the gym is intimidating, find a workout or activity you could do at home or at a park you love.  

#3 Reset

If you miss a workout or don't feel comfortable with the exercise activity you chose, take the time to reset and try again. The benefits of adopting an active lifestyle are worth the energy it takes to develop healthy habits. Keep goingyou've got this! 

 

Exercise Inspiration

Here are some potential activities and exercises to help you form your exercise plan. 

Remember, you should always talk with your primary care provider about what activity or exercise program is right for you and your specific health needs.  

  

Moderate-Intensity Activities: 

  • Walking fast 
  • Dancing 
  • Riding a bike on level ground or with few hills 
  • Walk to the store 
  • Hike a trail 
  • Do active forms of yoga 
  • Do water aerobics 
  • Pushing a lawn mower or raking leaves 

  

High-Intensity Activities: 

  • Swimming laps 
  • Riding a bike fast or on hills 
  • Playing any sport where you run back and forth 
  • Rowing 
  • Lifting weights 
  • Jogging or running 
  • Climbing stairs or hills 
  • Vigorous dancing 




  

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