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You know exercise is good for you the same way smokers know smoking can kill them. That is why simply being equipped with the knowledge of what is good and bad for you isn’t enough. The Surgeon General tried that already.
I’m not going to tell you why you should exercise, you probably have a hunch already.
I am, however, going to show you how to develop the health habits that will help keep you fit and adopt a health conscious lifestyle.
The number one reason I see patients come back to the physical therapy clinic after being successfully discharged is that they gave up on exercising and returned to poor habits that got them in trouble in the first place.
Taking care of your body isn’t only important when you are in pain. You don’t wait for your car to stall to take it for an oil change. Proper maintenance goes a long way for your car and for your body.
What are the biggest excuses for not exercising?
No Time! Busy with work. Busy with family. Low motivation. Pain.
Maybe all of the above.
By the way, everyone thinks their excuses are good ones!
We all get busy with work and family and easily let one thing after another keep us from investing in our own health. In reality, most of us can look at our day and find 20-30 minutes to be active in some way. Some exercise is better than no exercise.
Exercise is addictive if you give yourself the chance to get hooked. Walking can be your gateway drug. Before you know it, you might even crave that runner’s high.
If you’re looking for a pusher, contact your local physical therapist!
Here comes the shameless self plug: Click Here!
Here are some ways you can make exercise and healthy habits part of your life.
Set a goal
Write down exactly what you want to achieve (i.e. lose 10 lbs), how long it will take (i.e. in the next 2 months), and what actions you’re going to take (i.e. give up high sugar drinks and ride a stationary bike everyday for 30 minutes).
You need to know if you are getting closer to your goal. You’ll also need to know if your plan needs adjusting if you aren’t making the progress you hoped for.
Plan your week
You need to know exactly when, where, and how long you are going to workout. Write it down on your calendar or input it into your phone. Make it concrete though, don’t just say it out loud.
Have a meaningful “Why”
You need to really know why you want to do this. “Because I want a six-pack” isn’t good enough. Maybe you want to improve your physical appearance so that you can attract that special someone. Maybe you want to be able to keep up with your kids. Maybe you want to recover from an injury so you can get back in the game.
Follow the Stair Rule
Never use an elevator to go up less than 2 flights or down less than 4 flights of stairs. Also, if an escalator is next to a set of stairs, always choose the stairs. Try to get up those stairs faster than someone on the escalator. There is personal satisfaction in beating someone who chose the lazy route.
Park your car far away
Spend less time looking for that closer parking spot. Park far on purpose and walk. It’s surprising how much time people waste looking for that elusive “better spot”.
If you have a desk job and spend long hours sitting for work, make a point to get up every 30 minutes for a quick stretch. Read this article I wrote to help with mastering the art of stretching- 5 Quick Tips for Better Stretching.
Buy screen time
Charge yourself 30 minutes of exercise for 1 hour of TV or internet per day.
Be Active During Commercial Breaks
See how many sit ups you can do during a commercial break. Try to beat your previous score each time. You will either get yourself some really strong abs or decide you don’t like watching TV all that much. Win-win.
Start a wellness initiative at work
21 Day Plank Challenge is a fun option. You can also do push ups during a break and have everyone track their progress. Post scores in the lunch room or by the water cooler. This also serves as a great budget conscious corporate culture initiative.
Tell your friends and family about your goals and you can even invite them to join you. It’s always funner to exercise with a partner. They will keep you accountable and you are less likely to bail if someone is counting on you. Remember though, this is about you. Your success doesn’t depend on their equal commitment.
There are many small changes you can make in your day that will make a great impact on your health and physical well being. You just need to train yourself to make the right choices.
If you need some help, feel free to Ask a Physio.
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