Finding Ways to Fit in Exercise

No-one has much spare time these days; our days are consumed by work, and evenings are devoted to families and household chores. Add in kids and you don’t even have time to pamper yourself, let alone find space for exercise. And if, by some miracle, you do actually have a free moment to catch your breath, you’re probably too exhausted to even consider getting off the couch. But, unfortunately, exercise is necessary for a long and healthy life!

You can’t watch the news or scan a magazine without being shown a so-called miracle diet or the potential health risks associated with obesity. We’re constantly bombarded with celebrity-backed adverts for appetite suppressants, fat blockers and other weight loss products. Everywhere we look, we are reminded how out of shape and overweight we are. Although this reality may seem ruthless to some, it’s the cold, hard truth. Weight matters. It plays a major part in the future plans we have made as we get older and our metabolism drops.

The benefits of exercise are certainly preferable to the adverse effects of an unhealthy lifestyle. Not only does our outlook and appearance improve; exercise helps reduce bone and joint problems, increases strength and endurance levels and reduces the risk of life-threatening medical conditions. Research shows that only half an hour of gentle exercise a day can be extremely beneficial for overall health and wellbeing.

Decide on an Exercise Program

What is moderate exercise? This type of exertion raises the pulse rate to a targeted level (see: Target heart rate calculator) for at least half an hour. This doesn’t require you to over-stretch yourself and sweat buckets to reach your desired pulse; in fact you should still be able to talk while exercising.

Once you get beyond the stage of creating a moderate cardio exercise regime, you can introduce strength training – which is a series of exercises, or sets, tailored to increase strength. Initially you can start with three sets of 12-15 repetitions for each type of exercise. Plan your training programme to target a particular muscle group with each session. One day you might target the upper body, then rest the next day, and go to work on the upper body the day after. As is the case with any exercise programme, you need to stretch when you’re done.

Establish Goals

Setting a goal for your regime is a great way to keep you focused and motivated. If your primary goal is weight loss, keep a diary and make a record each week of the amount of weight you have shed. Similarly, if your principal objective is losing size and toning up, you can take measurements of the target areas. If your exercise programme is based on the recommendation of your doctor or physician, he/she will probably request follow-up appointments to gauge progress and talk through any additional issues.

Stay Motivated

In a world stuffed with promises of instant gratification, we have become used to expecting instant results – even with exercise. But losing weight is not about overnight transformations; your body didn’t become overweight and out of shape overnight, so it’s safe to assume you’ll need some time to restore it to peak working order. Here are some ways to ensure you remain motivated and on the right track:

  • Get a workout partner. When both you and a friend resolve to exercise on a regular basis, it’s much harder to cancel or find an excuse to get out of it.
  • Mix in different routines. You’re less likely to succumb to boredom if you spice up your programme every so often.
  • Read health and wellness resources. Magazines and websites dedicated to health and fitness have great articles on new workout methods. You’ll also get loads of information on how to effectively add or change your routine to suit your circumstances.
  • Continue to try on that little black dress you love so much but can’t squeeze into at the moment. This is a great way to ensure you stick with your goals and keep working hard.
  • Create a different routine for rainy days. Exercising outdoors is fantastic, but what will you do when the rain is bucketing down or the roads have turned treacherous because of snow? You’ll need an alternative routine for such occasions; conversely, if you usually workout at home, design a plan to leave the house from time to time.
  • Test the time slot. Some people prefer exercising in the mornings, others prefer the evenings, and others still cram their workouts into their lunch times. When you test the various time slots, you’ll find the best time of the day for you.
  • Make smart choices. Stick to a sensible diet and introduce additional modes of exercise when appropriate; use the stairs, walk the dog, even play tag outdoors with the kids. The idea is to remain focused and enthusiastic. Once you become used to the great feeling of moving that body, you’ll never feel like sitting still!