I love to exercise, and this baffles my friends who are couch potatoes. “Why put yourself through unnecessary pain?” they always say. For me, leading an active lifestyle has really changed my life. In fact, exercising has a lot more benefits other than the obvious: a summer body all year round.
- I know I have the means to achieve my goals when I put my mind to it
- I am more confident because I feel good about myself
- I have the determination to pursue success in all aspects of life
- I know I have it in me to prove others wrong when they think little of me
- I am part of a small and elite group of Americans who work out on a daily basis.
When Life Throws You a Curve-ball
Like all other Americans who aren’t working in the fitness industry, juggling between work and exercising is a huge challenge for me. However, there is never a good reason to not exercise. I love to walk, and I make it a point to walk to my destination. Walking is a very simple exercise and while it may not burn as many calories as some, it certainly is useful for those looking to lead a healthier, more active lifestyle. Also, do you know that taking 10,000 steps a day will help reduce the chance of a cardiovascular disease?
I have also invested in the Bowflex dumbbells 552 set – or as I call them, “my prized possessions”. This means I can no longer make excuses for not finding time to work out. If you have the time to catch your favorite TV show, you have time to pick up those dumbbells and work your muscles! In fact, you can even work out while watching TV, I do!
Men and women of a certain age, listen up. Take it from me: call your doctor for an appointment and go in for regular checkups. Review your health status. I’ve come to realize that with age comes the vulnerability to injury. I learned it the hard way: it took a couple of damaged muscles and torn ligaments before I realized that I could no longer push myself as hard as I wanted to.
Finding Your Motivation
Motivation is what pushes you to maintain an active lifestyle. It comes in two forms:
1. Intrinsic motivation is the personal gratification you feel when exercising and exercising becomes a new hobby of yours.
2. Extrinsic motivation is the incentive you get when you work out; it could be to impress a crush or loved one.
These tips will keep you motivated and committed to exercising:
- Wear sports outfit that doesn’t restrict your movements
- Don’t get injured or hit in the face! Wear protective equipment at all times
- Get the basic techniques right and you can become better at the sport or exercise
- Vary the intensity of your workout and introduce cross-training to keep things exciting
Consider hiring a personal trainer if you are yet to be familiar with the concept of exercising. Under his supervision, you will be able to achieve your targets more effectively. A certified personal trainer will teach you the proper form to adopt so you can avoid injuries. It is important that he knows first aid and CPR, so he can perform resuscitation if need be.
Take Stress Out of the Equation
How would you like to lead a life without stress? You can certainly eliminate stress and clear your mind when you exercise. Prior to a workout, take a few minutes to breathe in deeply. Such easy inhaling exercises can help clear your thoughts and expunge any negativity.
A Complete Workout
What constitutes a complete workout? The right answer: one that comprises warm up and cool down exercises. This means that your workout is not complete, even if you spend two full hours at the gym without bothering to warm your body and cool your body down.
It is critical that you take 10 to 15 minutes to slowly warm your body up. Go for a slow-paced jog and then stretch the different muscle groups. During this process, blood and oxygen will flow to your muscles and prepare them for the full workout. Without doing so, you risk tearing your muscles or ligaments. If you read the reviews on P90x workouts, Tony Horton’s popular home exercise program, you’ll notice that everyone raves about his warm-ups and cool-downs.
Cooling down is just as important, but often neglected even by those who take the time to warm up their bodies. They always feel the consequences the very next day: muscle aches. Cool down exercises help to repair whatever damage you may have inflicted. If you don’t buy it, well at least consider this: cooling down will expedite the recovery process, and help your muscles to grow even faster.
A Healthy Diet Is the Key
Couple an active lifestyle with a healthy diet and you will achieve your goals —be it weight loss or to bulk up— in no time. A good meal consists of carbohydrates, protein and fat. Never go on a diet that requires you to eliminate one of these three components entirely. You will only jeopardize your own progress.
Vitamins and minerals will also help build up your health. At the conclusion of a workout, treat yourself to a sweet beverage: a sports drink or even chocolate milk —sorry, no soda! Your body supply of glycogen is depleted after a workout. Glycogen is the source of energy, so you will need to refuel to carry on the day. Lastly, drinking lots of water is no negotiation; you must always keep yourself hydrated. Remember: when you feel thirsty, your body is already dehydrated!