With longer days comes a little more time, a bit more energy and, often, a lot more “oomph,” propelling you off of the couch and onto the workout bandwagon to get back in shape. No doubt about it: Starting a workout (after talking with your doctor first), along with cutting back on the foods you may have overindulged in over the winter months, can jump-start you back on the road to good health, both physically and mentally. In addition to building up your stamina and helping you burn calories to lose weight, exercise also elevates your mood and lowers blood pressure and stress, not to mention boosting your immune system to help prevent you from getting sick.
Just remember that it’s important to ease into exercise rather than trying to take on too much, too soon. Pushing yourself to extremes can be a recipe for giving up and quitting because the activity seems too hard or tiring. It can also tempt injury.
- Start slowly and build up to 30 minutes of exercise, most days of the week. (Ideally, 150 minutes a week/30 minutes each day for five days is the goal). Take time to warm-up and stretch to help keep from getting hurt or sore.
- Split up your workouts, as needed! If doing three 10-minute sessions or two 15-minute sessions is easier for you than doing one 30-minute workout, go for it.
- Do what you enjoy. Try some different moves to keep from getting bored. Make workouts fun and something to look forward to doing. Bored with walking? Dancing, lifting weights, swimming, and yoga are all great options too, and can achieve different results. Ask your doctor what’s right for you.
- Always listen to your body. Remember: It’s okay to give your body a break, and rest.
- Keep track of your progress. Write down what you did, and for how long after each session. “Logging” your achievements helps you to see how far you’ve come, and helps you stay on track.
Starting or getting back to exercise is a great move. Use these tips to help get you back in shape safely, and keep moving in the right direction!
By Lisa Miceli Feliciano
Sources include: www.cdc.gov