‘Tis the season…of extra food…of extra drink…of extra pounds. Now we face a New Year, and New Year’s Resolutions. Weight loss and exercise are so many times at the top of our list. So this year I WILL do it! This year I will start exercising! Easier said than done!
It can be easier! Each year we have the realization that it is a new year…we have the power to create our lives and our bodies in a new way… in the way that we envision them.
- Set goals and be realistic. If your overall goal is to lose 50 pounds, be realistic that this is a very long-term goal. Set an obtainable short-term goal such as building up to 45 minutes of walking or 30 minutes on a treadmill. Set short-term goals that are fairly easy to achieve. Give a definitive structure for your goals. Set daily and weekly goals. Remember that weight loss is often a great outcome, but it should not be your only goal. There are many other positive outcomes of a healthier lifestyle such as increased energy level, improved sleep patterns, or improved heart rate. Setting your goals on such positive outcomes can help you feel good daily about your new routine.
- Find your fitness fix. Don’t waste your time trying to do an exercise regime that isn’t your style. If stress is a major problem for you, try something like yoga. With yoga you can blend relaxation, mind/body connection and exercise in one. If you suffer from joint pain or have difficulty moving in general, consider Tai Chi. I am a great advocate for walking. It is one of the easiest fitness programs and simple for many to “jump right into.” It also requires no special equipment except for acceptable shoes. If you thrive on a more social atmosphere, consider joining a gym. If you thrive on quiet space, consider exercise videos or a walking program. There is no best program, only the best program for you.
- Start Slow! We often fail with our attempts to start exercising. Consider starting with only 10 minutes and adding 10 minutes each week. This also lowers the risk of injury and setbacks due to “overdoing it.” This can be applied to any activity. I enjoy doing Yoga videos at home, but I started out doing only 15 minutes.
- Stop sabotaging yourself! Negative thought patterns and self-judgment such as “I should have…” or “I need to…” only make starting a program more daunting. Enlist your spouse or a friend to help encourage your new patterns. Consider doing a “buddy system.” Exercise can be more enjoyable when done with friends or your spouse. However, if solo workouts are more your style, steer away from this system.
- Focus on the positive aspects. Being realistic about what results you would like to see is the first step. If you are stepping on a scale each morning, you will likely become frustrated early on. Continue to give yourself positive verbal feedback that you are doing something healthy for yourself. By taking good care of yourself, you are caring for your family and setting a good example for others.
- Stop telling yourself you don’t have time. Some of the busiest people I know take time frequently (sometimes daily) to exercise and take “me time.” We often convince ourselves that taking time for ourselves is taking away from something else. Yet most of us rarely, if ever, take “me time.”
- Consider consulting or using a professional. Professional trainers are much more accessible than ever. Most gyms have a trainer on staff and there are many agencies that provide training services at your home or in your workplace. Many physical therapy facilities now have trainers and gym equipment available at affordable prices.
- Never risk your health. If you have any health concerns, consult your physician or physical therapist before starting a program. If you have not exercised in many years, a physical exam with your physician should be done to rule out any potentially life-threatening problems prior to starting any exercise.
Have a Joyful and Healthy 2009!
Vanessa Cayle, MSPT is a physical therapist and owner/director of the CranioSacral Institute of MI, LLC. She teaches and presents craniosacral therapy and Frequency Specific Microcurrent (FSM). She actively treats clients, teaches, lectures and oversees numerous wellness-focused groups at her Shelby Twp. office and abroad.