Losing weight or getting fit is one of the most commonly cited New Year’s resolutions made every year. Health club and gym membership sales skyrocket with new sign ups during the month of January and personal trainers are booked solid through Valentine’s Day. It’s no wonder gyms offer discount memberships or group fees for friends vowing to help each other drop the extra weight and become their fittest selves.
Under the best circumstances most of us find it difficult to make working out a priority, particularly when we have to put on gym clothes and brave long lines on the treadmill and weight bench. This becomes even more problematic when you can’t get into the most convenient yoga or spin class and you get discouraged. Next thing you know you’re creating excuses not to make the tiresome trip to the gym.
By the end of January those excuses have fallen away and you’re now reading the fine print to see if you can get out of that costly two-year contract. Losing weight and getting in shape is an important part of good health, and it doesn’t require you to sign up for an expensive membership contract.
Exercise: Why Should I Do It?
It’s probably no secret that there are plenty of health benefits associated with regular exercise and other physical activity, but very few people know exactly what those benefits are. That is why I have provided you with some specific benefits that come with regular exercise below;
- Improves the circulation of oxygen-rich blood to all the cells in your body, which works to relieve chronic pain.
- Exercise improves bone strength which makes you less susceptible to breaks and fractures as well as protecting against age-related bone issues that include density and deterioration.
- Provides an increase in protective muscle mass around the bones and improves overall balance thereby reducing the risk of injury from trauma and falling.
- Regular exercise–both resistance and cardio exercise–burns fat during your workouts but also around the clock, even at rest.
- Studies show that exercise helps with the flow of feel good hormones into the body, decreasing your chances of depression. Regular exercise gives you a much better attitude so you feel good and less stressed.
Don’t Rush It
Contrary to popular belief it isn’t laziness that makes us stop exercise programs before spring arrives. For most people it is the pain and discomfort in our joints and muscles from working muscles that haven’t been worked in a while. You can reduce those aches and pains with making sure to warm up before your workouts and cool down after your session is over.
Start with a light workout and build up slowly to avoid injury and muscle soreness. When you feel that your workout becomes too simple, that is a prime time to increase the intensity of your exercise program.
Apply ice to injuries right away to reduce pain and inflammation. If necessary, apply heat or a pain relief cream. Give your body time to recovery after an injury before returning to the work the previously injured muscles.
Keep It Interesting
Boredom can be the death knell of any exercise program if completely regularly for a few weeks. This is really an unfortunate mistake because getting in shape doesn’t mean doing the same exercises every day. In fact you will experience better results if you vary your workouts and exercises.
Try a new class when you get sick of lifting weights or add new exercises to spice up a boring strength training routine. When you get tired of running nowhere on the treadmill, take a scenic run. Don’t think of exercise as just lifting weights and running; playing sports is as effective as traditional workouts. Even sex gives your heart, lungs, and major muscle groups a great workout while burning about 300 calories an hour.
Chart Your Progress
Make regular exercise a habit so it becomes a part of your regular schedule. Haphazard scheduling makes it much too easy to skip one, then two, then all of your scheduled workouts. Try using a workout journal to track your progress and keep you on course.
Written By: Updated: February 13,2010