12 Steps to Make Exercise a Lasting Part of Your Life

“Take care of your body, it’s the only place you have to live.” -- Jim Rohn

Sometimes a new thought or a new idea is all you need to make a lasting change. You can wake up one day and decide to make your entire life change. If you are new to exercise or you dropped it for a while and you want to get back to doing it, the best way to begin is with small steps.

You don’t have to become an athlete overnight to make exercise a part of your lifestyle. It’s actually better if you commit to making small changes in your daily routine instead of reinventing yourself overnight, because you are more likely to stick with it. Small changes in habits can lead to lasting, permanent change. So think baby steps and incorporate exercise into your life with these tips.

1.  Develop a "move more" mindset.

Carving out a specific hour of a day for a workout is great (and we will get to that in a little bit) but first, start each day with the mindset to move more. By reminding your body to get more movement throughout the day, you will be more likely to do it. So sit less and stand more. Take more steps and stairs. Walk to talk with a coworker instead of emailing them.

Stretch in your chair, squat to pick something up, park far away from stores so you will walk more, stand up when you talk on the phone and do some exercises while you watch TV. There are numerous ways you can sneak more movement into your day. Begin each day with a move more mindset and you will find them.

2.  Commit to regular activity.

You may not be the type of person who wants to train for a triathlon and that’s perfectly okay. You don’t have to become a fitness buff to benefit from exercise and movement. Start by committing to getting activity regularly. Schedule exercise like any other appointment on your calendar and treat it as a commitment rather than something you squeeze in if you have time. Even if you can only allot 15 minutes at a time, schedule it.

Take a short walk. Walk at a leisurely pace at first if exercise is new to you. You can build up to a power walk. If that’s not your thing, take a fitness class, swim laps or sign up for dance classes. Whatever exercise you start, build up slowly so you don’t overwhelm yourself and give up. If your body isn’t accustomed to regular exercise, build up slowly day by day so you don’t get too sore and throw in the towel altogether.

3.  Find your favorite exercise.

I know people who commit to a form of exercise and hate it. How long do you think they will keep that up? We aren’t inclined to dive in or stick to things we despise. Out of all the forms of exercise out there, find one you just love. Get really specific. Don’t just say, “yoga” discover what form of yoga is your favorite. If swimming is your thing, do you prefer swimming laps or water aerobics? Or maybe you’d dread a step class but you can’t get enough of Pilates.

A good way to identify what type of exercise is right for you is to first figure out if you like to exercise alone, with a partner or in a group setting. You may have to experiment a little bit before you know. Try different forms of exercise until you find one that energizes you physically and mentally. Find your favorite exercise—one where excuses won’t even enter the equation when it’s time to exercise.

4.  Focus on health and strength and what it means to you, and not on numbers on a scale.

Many people can get easily discouraged and give up when there’s too much emphasis on weight loss. Rather than an exclusive focus on weight loss, focus on the joys of exercise and movement instead. Take pride in your body getting stronger or your new ability to able to exercise longer, even if it’s just in baby steps. Think about the great way your body feels after exercise and the exhilaration you feel. Taking the time to consider what really connects you to exercise on an emotional level, is powerful because you can use those thoughts to motivate you.

Most likely what motivates you runs much deeper than getting skinnier or being a specific set of three numbers on a scale. Identify what it is for you. Maybe you want to have more energy for your children or grandchildren or you want to be in more control of your health—whatever is your core motivation—connect to it.

5.  Add strength training to your weekly routine.

Exercise isn’t just cardio alone. Strength training is critically important to retain muscle as you age, have a strong body and an effective metabolism. Even if you focus on just one muscle group a day and do three different exercises with three sets of 15 each for that muscle group you will benefit. You can divide strength training up throughout the week. Try two days a week to start and work up to three. Strength training will change how you feel, help you conquer your workouts with all that new muscle you are developing, and it’s the secret to a revved up metabolism.

6.  Put yourself first.

Stressful situations can take your focus away from properly caring for yourself. If you neglect yourself for the sake of external problems, you will be creating more problems than you are solving. Make sure you consider what you need and do something—however small—for yourself each day. Even if you only have 15 minutes, just commit to 15 minutes. It all goes back to the oxygen philosophy you hear about on planes flight attendants advice: “Put your own oxygen mask on before assisting others.” Put the mask on you first and then your children. You aren’t able to effectively take care of anyone else if you don’t take care of yourself first. Keep that in mind.

7.  Exercise with a group.

Exercise doesn’t have to be a solo sport. Make it an outing with friends and family. When you join up with others to exercise, not only do you get the immediate benefits of exercise, you also get time spent with friends—a double deposit into your well-being. When you discover physical activities and forms of exercise you love, you develop a sense of camaraderie and community with others. Accountability works.

8.  Think of how exercise boosts your sense of well-being.

You probably know exercise can help you live longer and go a long way to disease prevention, but what you might find more rewarding is to think about all the immediate benefits exercise provides to your well-being. While the long-term benefits are numerous, let’s face it, many of us aren’t motivated by what we can prevent decades down the road. Think short-term instead. All of us can use exercise today to get more energy, alleviate stress, increase productivity, improve our outlook, sleep better and feel happier—today! Think about what you stand to gain if you work out today. Maybe it’s a sunnier disposition or the satisfaction in knowing you pushed your body. Just give it some thought or better yet, make a list.

9.  Look to the future

Don’t get caught up in guilt or regret because you haven’t worked out or don’t beat yourself up if it has been a while. Guilt and regret only make you feel badly, they don’t get you where you are headed. With a simple decision in your mind, you can let go of what you did or didn’t do and just start again. Look forward. If you are feeling badly about yourself, you are less likely to make positive change. Start over with a clear plan of what you will commit to doing each day for your health.

10.  Avoid stop and start and stop again syndrome.

One great way to kill your confidence is to constantly start and stop your exercise routine. It’s common for people to get psyched up and dive in to working out and then drop it altogether when the craziness of life intervenes. But if you start and stop all the time, you are setting yourself up for a never-ending cycle, where you won’t see any progress. Don’t tackle the world in a day. Think baby steps. Think of what you can do and schedule today even if it’s small increments of time that you eventually build upon. Commit to what you can achieve, at least at first.

11.  Remind yourself daily of your why.

It’s easy to get off track if you aren’t reminding yourself of why working out and eating healthy is important to you. This goes back to your core motivation that we addressed earlier. If you make it automatic to wake up and remind yourself of why exercise is important to you, you will be more likely to keep your commitments to yourself. You also will be putting exercise front and center on your day instead of treating it as an afterthought that you skip at day’s end. Wake up thinking of what exercise you will do today and it becomes a priority.

12.  Stretch post workouts.

An effective exercise regimen involves cardio, strength training and stretching. Stretching after exercise can help relax and balance tension caused by the workout itself. Post-workout, when your body is warm is the ideal time to stretch. The risk of muscle injury is much lower, and you will save yourself from tight, sore muscles the following day. Plus, the calm, relaxing feeling of a good stretch is a great way to end a workout.

Try some of these steps to make exercise a part of your life. Remember, a great way to avoid skipping workouts is to ask yourself how you will feel afterward. You can feel proud of your dedication and gain the exhilaration of accomplishment, or you can be disappointed and defeated that you skipped, again.

By: Chris Freytag

Orginal Article: http://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2013/02/15/12-exercise-tips.aspx

More Physical Health...

“Take care of your body, it’s the only place you have to live.” -- Jim Rohn

Sometimes a new thought or a new idea is all you need to make a lasting change. You can wake up one day and decide to make your entire life change. If you are new to exercise or you dropped it for a while and you want to get back to doing it, the best way to begin is with small steps.

You don’t have to become an athlete overnight to make exercise a part of your lifestyle. It’s actually better if you commit to making small changes in your daily routine instead of reinventing yourself overnight, because you are more likely to stick with it. Small changes in habits can lead to lasting, permanent change. So think baby steps and incorporate exercise into your life with these tips.

1.  Develop a "move more" mindset.

Carving out a specific hour of a day for a workout is great (and we will get to that in a little bit) but first, start each day with the mindset to move more. By reminding your body to get more movement throughout the day, you will be more likely to do it. So sit less and stand more. Take more steps and stairs. Walk to talk with a coworker instead of emailing them.

Stretch in your chair, squat to pick something up, park far away from stores so you will walk more, stand up when you talk on the phone and do some exercises while you watch TV. There are numerous ways you can sneak more movement into your day. Begin each day with a move more mindset and you will find them.

2.  Commit to regular activity.

You may not be the type of person who wants to train for a triathlon and that’s perfectly okay. You don’t have to become a fitness buff to benefit from exercise and movement. Start by committing to getting activity regularly. Schedule exercise like any other appointment on your calendar and treat it as a commitment rather than something you squeeze in if you have time. Even if you can only allot 15 minutes at a time, schedule it.

Take a short walk. Walk at a leisurely pace at first if exercise is new to you. You can build up to a power walk. If that’s not your thing, take a fitness class, swim laps or sign up for dance classes. Whatever exercise you start, build up slowly so you don’t overwhelm yourself and give up. If your body isn’t accustomed to regular exercise, build up slowly day by day so you don’t get too sore and throw in the towel altogether.

3.  Find your favorite exercise.

I know people who commit to a form of exercise and hate it. How long do you think they will keep that up? We aren’t inclined to dive in or stick to things we despise. Out of all the forms of exercise out there, find one you just love. Get really specific. Don’t just say, “yoga” discover what form of yoga is your favorite. If swimming is your thing, do you prefer swimming laps or water aerobics? Or maybe you’d dread a step class but you can’t get enough of Pilates.

A good way to identify what type of exercise is right for you is to first figure out if you like to exercise alone, with a partner or in a group setting. You may have to experiment a little bit before you know. Try different forms of exercise until you find one that energizes you physically and mentally. Find your favorite exercise—one where excuses won’t even enter the equation when it’s time to exercise.

4.  Focus on health and strength and what it means to you, and not on numbers on a scale.

Many people can get easily discouraged and give up when there’s too much emphasis on weight loss. Rather than an exclusive focus on weight loss, focus on the joys of exercise and movement instead. Take pride in your body getting stronger or your new ability to able to exercise longer, even if it’s just in baby steps. Think about the great way your body feels after exercise and the exhilaration you feel. Taking the time to consider what really connects you to exercise on an emotional level, is powerful because you can use those thoughts to motivate you.

Most likely what motivates you runs much deeper than getting skinnier or being a specific set of three numbers on a scale. Identify what it is for you. Maybe you want to have more energy for your children or grandchildren or you want to be in more control of your health—whatever is your core motivation—connect to it.

5.  Add strength training to your weekly routine.

Exercise isn’t just cardio alone. Strength training is critically important to retain muscle as you age, have a strong body and an effective metabolism. Even if you focus on just one muscle group a day and do three different exercises with three sets of 15 each for that muscle group you will benefit. You can divide strength training up throughout the week. Try two days a week to start and work up to three. Strength training will change how you feel, help you conquer your workouts with all that new muscle you are developing, and it’s the secret to a revved up metabolism.

6.  Put yourself first.

Stressful situations can take your focus away from properly caring for yourself. If you neglect yourself for the sake of external problems, you will be creating more problems than you are solving. Make sure you consider what you need and do something—however small—for yourself each day. Even if you only have 15 minutes, just commit to 15 minutes. It all goes back to the oxygen philosophy you hear about on planes flight attendants advice: “Put your own oxygen mask on before assisting others.” Put the mask on you first and then your children. You aren’t able to effectively take care of anyone else if you don’t take care of yourself first. Keep that in mind.

7.  Exercise with a group.

Exercise doesn’t have to be a solo sport. Make it an outing with friends and family. When you join up with others to exercise, not only do you get the immediate benefits of exercise, you also get time spent with friends—a double deposit into your well-being. When you discover physical activities and forms of exercise you love, you develop a sense of camaraderie and community with others. Accountability works.

8.  Think of how exercise boosts your sense of well-being.

You probably know exercise can help you live longer and go a long way to disease prevention, but what you might find more rewarding is to think about all the immediate benefits exercise provides to your well-being. While the long-term benefits are numerous, let’s face it, many of us aren’t motivated by what we can prevent decades down the road. Think short-term instead. All of us can use exercise today to get more energy, alleviate stress, increase productivity, improve our outlook, sleep better and feel happier—today! Think about what you stand to gain if you work out today. Maybe it’s a sunnier disposition or the satisfaction in knowing you pushed your body. Just give it some thought or better yet, make a list.

9.  Look to the future

Don’t get caught up in guilt or regret because you haven’t worked out or don’t beat yourself up if it has been a while. Guilt and regret only make you feel badly, they don’t get you where you are headed. With a simple decision in your mind, you can let go of what you did or didn’t do and just start again. Look forward. If you are feeling badly about yourself, you are less likely to make positive change. Start over with a clear plan of what you will commit to doing each day for your health.

10.  Avoid stop and start and stop again syndrome.

One great way to kill your confidence is to constantly start and stop your exercise routine. It’s common for people to get psyched up and dive in to working out and then drop it altogether when the craziness of life intervenes. But if you start and stop all the time, you are setting yourself up for a never-ending cycle, where you won’t see any progress. Don’t tackle the world in a day. Think baby steps. Think of what you can do and schedule today even if it’s small increments of time that you eventually build upon. Commit to what you can achieve, at least at first.

11.  Remind yourself daily of your why.

It’s easy to get off track if you aren’t reminding yourself of why working out and eating healthy is important to you. This goes back to your core motivation that we addressed earlier. If you make it automatic to wake up and remind yourself of why exercise is important to you, you will be more likely to keep your commitments to yourself. You also will be putting exercise front and center on your day instead of treating it as an afterthought that you skip at day’s end. Wake up thinking of what exercise you will do today and it becomes a priority.

12.  Stretch post workouts.

An effective exercise regimen involves cardio, strength training and stretching. Stretching after exercise can help relax and balance tension caused by the workout itself. Post-workout, when your body is warm is the ideal time to stretch. The risk of muscle injury is much lower, and you will save yourself from tight, sore muscles the following day. Plus, the calm, relaxing feeling of a good stretch is a great way to end a workout.

Try some of these steps to make exercise a part of your life. Remember, a great way to avoid skipping workouts is to ask yourself how you will feel afterward. You can feel proud of your dedication and gain the exhilaration of accomplishment, or you can be disappointed and defeated that you skipped, again.

By: Chris Freytag

Orginal Article: http://fitness.mercola.com/sites/fitness/archive/2013/02/15/12-exercise-tips.aspx

Outdoor hiking has a myriad of benefits for both the body and the mind. Hiking is inexpensive and easy to start, so you can participate no matter how fit you currently are. Most people live within driving distance of wonderful hiking spots and discovering these places is a good way of getting to know an area. Here's a look at some of the benefits of hiking.

Outdoor Hiking Promotes Mental Health

Hiking is much more varied than many other types of exercise, particularly those undertaken in a gym. Not only can your workout be different each time, depending on the trail you take, but the landscape will also change, if only from the seasons. Hiking outdoors can help you to maintain your motivation for exercise by making it more interesting. Hiking can also be as social as you like. You might feel embarrassed about exercising on the streets or in a gym when you're first starting out, and hiking on an isolated trail will decrease the chances of feeling like people are judging you (although you should always tell someone where you are going for safety's sake). Alternatively, hiking with a group or a friend can feel more like entertainment thanexercise, and campsites are often very friendly places where it is possible to meet new people.

Exercise is a very good stress reliever in any form, including hiking, and can also reduce insomnia, leading to better mental health. Hiking outdoors will help you feel closer to nature and natural rhythms, which may increase your happiness and help you feel more fulfilled. A difficult hike, for example, up a hill or mountain, can also help you feel like you've achieved something more tangible than completing a fitness circuit at the gym.

Outdoor Hiking Promotes Physical Health

Hiking is a great exercise because it is easy to adjust to any level of fitness. Outdoor hiking can be on a level, well maintained path, or up a pathless mountain. This makes it excellent for people who are hoping to improve their fitness, as they can simply take more and more difficult hikes. Losing weight is another benefit of hiking. This is particularly true of hiking uphill, as this can burn similar amounts of calories to jogging. Exercise can help reduce insulin resistance in both the short and long term.

As hiking puts pressure on your bones, it encourages healthy bone structure and reduces the chances of osteoporosis. Being exposed to sunshine will also increase your levels of vitamin D. Hiking is a cardiovascular activity, depending on how hard you push yourself during a hike, and thus has benefits for your cardiovascular system, such as reducing the chances of heart disease, and increasing your overall fitness. Hiking is excellent for muscle tone, particularly cross country hiking, as your body and legs have to compensate for the rough terrain by working harder.

Hiking is a wonderful activity that is easy to start and continue, due to its varied and customizable nature. Outdoor hiking can help you to lose weight, clear and ease your mind and build a healthier body.

Original By: http://www.fitday.com/fitness-articles/fitness/exercises/outdoor-hiking-why-its-good-for-the-body-and-mind.html#b

Health and wellness tips for your work, home and life—brought to you by the insurance specialists at HUB International Midwest

Winter

The winter months often provide some relief for allergy sufferers, as the outdoor air is cool and free of pollen. However, if you have allergies, you need to make sure that the air inside your house is clean as well. Be sure to:

·   Keep firewood outside.

·   Clean heating ducts and air conditioning filters.

·   Bathe house pets regularly if dander is a problem.

·   Keep your face covered when out in the cold. Going from cold outside air to warm indoor air can trigger asthma.

Spring

Mold growth blooms indoors and outdoors with spring rains. As flowers, trees, weeds and grasses begin to blossom, allergies will follow. Spring-cleaning activities can stir up dust mites, so be sure to:

·   Wash your bedding every week in hot water to help keep pollen under control.

·   Wash your hair before going to bed, since pollen can accumulate in your hair.

·   Wear an inexpensive painter’s mask and gloves when cleaning, vacuuming or painting to limit dust and chemical inhalation, and skin exposure.

·   Vacuum twice a week.

·   Limit the number of throw rugs in your home to reduce dust and mold.

·   Make sure the rugs you do have are washable.

·   Change air conditioning and heating air filters often.

Summer

Warm temperatures and high humidity can put a strain on seasonal allergy and asthma sufferers. Summer is the peak time for some types of pollen, smog and even mold:

·   Stay indoors between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m., when outdoor pollen counts tend to be highest.

·   Be careful when going from extreme outdoor heat to air conditioning. The temperature change can trigger an asthma attack.

·   Wear a mask when you mow the lawn or when around freshly-cut grass. Afterward, take a shower, wash your hair and change clothes.

·   Dry laundry inside instead of on an outside clothesline.

·   Check your yard for allergens, as well as other irritants such as oak, birch, cedar and cottonwood trees; weeds such as nettle or ragweed can also trigger allergies.

·   Wear shoes, long pants and long sleeves if allergic to bee stings.

·   Do not wear scented deodorants, hair products or perfumes when outdoors.

Fall

Cooler temperatures are ideal for planting flowers and trees, but be sure to plant those that produce less pollen, such as fir, pine, dogwood, azaleas, tulips, irises and pansies.

·   Wear a mask while raking leaves or when working with mulch or hay.

·   Use a dehumidifier in your basement to deter mold.

·   Clean your dehumidifier frequently.

·  Wash bathroom tiles and shower curtains with mold-killing products.

Did You Know...?

Back-to-school time is a great time to discuss allergies or asthma with your child’s school nurse and teachers. Inform them of your child’s needs, including any inhalers or medications, and what to do in case of an emergency.

By: Hub International

The lifestyle you create when you’re young can shape the way you live throughout the rest of your life. Therefore, it is extremely important to maintain physical health when you are young. Being active early helps to:

  • Build and maintain healthy bones and muscles
  • Reduce feelings of depression and anxiety
  • Reduce risk of developing obesity and chronic diseases
  • Improve academic performance

There are some consequences for physical inactivity that can affect your health for the rest of your life. Physical inactivity can lead to obesity, and other health issues such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, arthritis, and asthma. It can also lead to increased risk of premature death, heart disease, diabetes, and colon cancer.

Get involved and stay active to live long and stay healthy! Visit,http://www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/physicalactivity/facts.htm for more information!