The correlation between physical activity and good health is well known. Whether your intention is to lose weight, build muscle or simply improve your heart health, the important thing is to stay active and have a strategy for success. Here are a few easy ways to be more active for a longer life:
- Start Small, Create Good Habits
It is easy to come up with reasons to avoid doing something – especially if it requires time and effort. Start off with small commitments and work your way up. You do not necessarily need to join a sports team or fitness class to increase physical activity and get moving. Set attainable goals and do a little bit every day. Stretch, do a few push-ups or take a brisk walk to build strength. Get your body accustomed to regular activity and you will get to the point where it will crave movement.
- Increase N.E.A.T
Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (or N.E.A.T), includes the calories expended outside of exercise. This can include activities such as walking, going up stairs or even fidgeting! There are many activities that we do every day that have a surprising caloric output effect. Make a conscious effort to increase movement:
- Take the stairs once in a while, walk or bike instead of driving short distances and stand up during your regular sit-down tasks.
- Any increase in activity has health benefits. Grasp every opportunity to be a little more active.
- Be aware of the time spent lying or sitting down, find ways to break these up and go for a walk, or stretch.
- Do What Makes You Happy
Do not worry about subscribing to one type of workout plan or exercise type. Everyone has their own unique interests, preferences and capabilities. Do what is comfortable and fun for you, but the most important thing is that it makes you happy and keeps you moving. Take a dance class, join a hiking group, or even work out to an exercise video at home.
- Measure Your Success
Keep track of your accomplishments and set personal goals – this will keep you motivated and help you stay on track. If your goal is to simply become more active you can measure your steps with a pedometer or time yourself doing specific activities. If losing fat is the objective then you can keep track of your BMI or waist circumference.
Most importantly, do not get discouraged. Everyone has their own pace and some things will come easier than others. Make small commitments every day to live a healthier and more active lifestyle.