To Your Health
March, 2009 (Vol. 03, Issue 03)
How to Stick With an Exercise Routine
Break up your workout. As mentioned, you don't need to exercise in a single block of time to see results. Simply take the stairs at work, park farther away from wherever you happen to be going (work, school, the grocery store, etc.), or walk over to a colleague's desk rather than phoning them, etc. Did you know you can potentially burn just as many calories throughout the day doing this as you would from huffing and puffing at the gym for hours? Make exercise a part of your daily life and you won't even know you are exercising!
Start small. Most people tend to overdo it when they first start an exercise program. We get so motivated that we start going to the gym every day. We try to do more than we can. Guess what happens? We get so sore or so burned out that we actually start hating it. Start off slow and pace yourself. This will always keep you going over the long haul.
Remember, you don't need to spend hours at the gym. Nowadays, even if you do decide to go to a gym, you can do a weight-training program in 20 minutes. If you don't know how, ask a trainer. More is not necessarily better. It's about efficiency and quality of exercise, not quantity. In fact, there are high-intensity cardio workouts that last only four minutes, if you can believe that, and they are used by professional athletes and other people who are exceptionally well-conditioned. If elite athletes are doing things in less time and seeing results, so can you. Always do full-body workouts, making sure you engage all your muscles. This always leads to better results. If you want to accomplish this within 15 minutes, vibration exercise can also be an option [see the January 2009 issue], particularly if are unable to perform conventional exercises due to injury or physical limitation.
Try new activities. The best way to prevent exercise boredom is to always seek new activities you can do during the year. Some activities that can give you a great workout just as well as conventional exercise include salsa or ballroom dancing, golf, swimming, or even an activity such as sightseeing around town. If you are going out for dinner, park as far away from the restaurant as possible and enjoy the walk there and back. These simple activities add up.
Write down your goals. Did you know one of the best predictors of success is writing things down? It's as simple as spending a minute at the start of each day writing down what you are going to do that day. This type of activity provides reinforcement that you have goals to achieve. Always follow the SMART rules of goal setting. This means each goal should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.
No matter what your fitness level, time availability or motivation, taking simple steps to staying active is within your reach. Not only will you be able to do more, but you'll also have better overall health and a better ability to combat the stresses of everyday life. All it requires is a bit of your time in outlining your goals and what you will do to achieve them. Once you do, write down what you're going to do every day - and then do it! Only by committing to exercise on a consistent basis can you hope to follow through on a consistent basis.
Jasper Sidhu, DC, graduated from Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College in 1994 and opened the Downtown Injury Rehab Centre in Windsor, Ontario, incorporating vibration training into the rehabilitation part of his practice. He is vice president of clinical services for WAVE Manufacturing (www.wavexercise.com).