Every day there’s a new exercise trend. You may not be looking for a “quick fix,” but you need the right information to know you’re doing what’s best for your body. You are building a healthy active lifestyle, and that takes time, patience and research. To get started, stick with these seven easy tips to keep your workout plans on track and work your way up to whole body fitness.
1. Keep Moving
Create an active lifestyle. Even on a rest day, you should get up off the couch. You don’t have to do a vigorous workout every single day, but you are working to create a lifestyle that includes regular exercise. Take a walk outside for some fresh air or take the stairs instead of the elevator. Gentle stretches, doing yoga at home or a hike in nature can help keep the blood flowing.
2. Combine Exercises
Getting on a StairMaster or treadmill is a great way to improve endurance, but you can step it up by adding some free weights. You shouldn’t overdo it, of course, but once you’re comfortable, pump your biceps with some light dumbells to help increase muscle mass. High Intensity Interval Training is also a great way to combine cardio moves like jumping jacks and high knees with strengthening moves, like squats and pushups.
3. Drink Water
Staying hydrated gives your body the support it needs. The widely accepted minimum is 64 oz or eight 8 oz glasses of water per day, but you may need to drink more if you are doing strenuous exercise. The amount of water you need to consume depends on a number of factors, including weight and activity level.
“It depends on your size and weight, and also on your activity level and where you live,” Nessler says. “In general, you should try to drink between half an ounce and an ounce of water for each pound you weigh, every day.” For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, that would be 75 to 150 ounces of water a day. If you’re living in a hot climate and exercising a lot, you’d be on the higher end of that range; if you’re in a cooler climate and mostly sedentary, you’d need less.”
4. Chart Your Progress
Track your workouts, but don’t obsess over the numbers. It will take time for your body to get stronger. Record how much weight you are able to lift. Record how long you were on the treadmill and how many Zumba classes you took this week. Review your log every couple of months to remind yourself how hard you’ve worked and what you’ve accomplished, in order to stay motivated.
5. Do a Little Bit at a Time
Instead of just saving fitness for a designated workout hour, you can do exercises while completing errands around the house. Put in a few standing push-ups while cooking or circle the block when you go get the mail. If you are at a desk at work all day, have dumbbells handy to do a few arm lifts during your break. Take every opportunity to work some exercise into your day, at home, in the gym, at work, etc.
6. Take the Tough Route
Life is made up of shortcuts. Avoid them if you want to lose weight. Take the stairs instead of the elevator and walk instead of using those motorized sidewalks in airports. Every little bit counts and it will become easier over time. Eventually, what was once challenging will just be part of your daily active lifestyle.
7. Celebrate Success
Remember, it takes motivation and willpower to get in shape, and it’s not always easy. Acknowledge your success daily — and remember success is defined however YOU want. Getting to the gym, sticking to your healthy eating goals or doing one extra push-up are all accomplishments that have meaning. Post inspirational messages around your house to fill you with support for what you are doing.
Fitness is about personal wellness — so listen to the experts, but more importantly, listen to your body and your own doctors. Do your research and be patient