Lose weight, get fit. It’s the No. 1 resolution year after new year. Yet, it may be the most challenging resolution to keep.
Experts say it shouldn’t be. In fact, they say it’s as easy as moving more and sticking with it.
Get moving. Getting started on the road to better health really is as simple as taking a walk. Bring along the dog, or a good audiobook, and start small. Take a walk around the block, several times a day if possible, and work up to longer jaunts. By spring, you’re likely to find yourself ready for your first 5K [3.1 miles].
Deterred by cold weather? Walk inside – around a track, on a treadmill or in a class. Or don’t walk at all, swim instead or dance or participate in the graceful art of tai chi. As with walking, you can do tai chi anywhere, inside or out, in a class or by yourself. However, it’s best to take a class when getting started to ensure proper form.
Concerned about an injury? With doctor approval, of course, low impact exercises are best, including water exercise that uses buoyancy and flotation devices to provide support and cushioning for injured or recovering joints. “Swimming is good for individuals with arthritis because it’s less weight-bearing,” explained Dr. I-Min Lee, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. And water aerobics can help burn calories and increase muscle tone.
Want bigger results? Elliptical machines provide resistance and endurance without the repetitive joint and feet strain produced by high-impact exercise, such as running. Typically, you can burn about 330 calories in a moderate 45-minute session when properly using an elliptical machine. Lifting weights also can increase calorie burn. But before starting a weight training program, be sure to learn the proper form. Start light, with just one or two pounds. You should be able to lift the weights 10 times with ease. After a couple of weeks, increase that by a pound or two. If you can easily lift the weights through the entire range of motion more than 12 times, move up to slightly heavier weight.
Stick with it. The key to success with any activity is sound planning. Schedule time for exercise and stick with it. If you prefer to exercise in the morning, set an alarm both to ensure that you get to bed on time and that you get up early enough to work out. Working out first thing in the morning can give you an added boost of energy all day long. If after work is your preferred workout time, be sure to leave the office on time. Making exercise a priority worthy of your daily planner will help keep you on track.