Creative ways to stay active
When getting in shape or tackling a new fitness routine, starting can be the toughest part. Like anything new, there is an initial learning curve. We may have the necessary motivation but need help getting started.
You can make an enormous impact on your overall health and well-being with a bit of creativity and planning.
Set yourself up for success
Know what makes you tick! If you are a morning person, then plan for some movement in the first part of your day. If you prefer exercising later in the day, try scheduling your favourite activity immediately after your work day. Maybe try a new exercise outfit, a new running water belt, or your favourite music mix to keep you energized. Perhaps you need a workout buddy or a personal trainer to keep you accountable. If you are someone who thrives on scheduling and planning, schedule your workouts one week in advance. Know what you are going to do so you can make the most of your time.
Group fitness dates
Most of us have busy schedules and a lot on the go. Many of us are balancing multiple roles as spouse, parent, worker, caretaker, volunteer, friend, etc. It’s a challenge to squeeze in physical activity, let alone find time to visit and socialize with our friends and family.
Workout dates are my favourite way to stay active, nurture relationships, and do something great for our bodies. Rock out to a fun POUND class followed by dinner, choose a relaxing yoga class and a coffee date, or grab a group of your girlfriends and hit up a barre class and some post-workout rosé!
Group fitness classes are a perfect way to blend your social time and your sweat time. Get active with your family. Turn play time into your active time. Go for a walk with the kids; if their pace is too slow carry them, add in some lunges, squats, jumping jacks or running high knees on the spot. You know what they say, “those who sweat together stay together.”
Set goals and track your progress
Setting small, easily attainable goals is a terrific way to keep you motivated. Track your progress; sometimes we get discouraged and forget to look back and reflect on how far we’ve come. Try a monthly calendar tracker, or fitness tracker. Write your goals down somewhere you will see them often, make sure they are measurable, and share your goals with your friends and family to help keep you on track.
I am passionate about nutrition and a firm believer that it’s not what we put in our bodies that is the issue, but rather, what we DON’T put in our bodies. Stop focusing on eliminating junk foods in your diet. Focus on incorporating as many nutrient-dense foods instead! Increase water intake and eat as much fresh, whole food as you can. Over time your body will crave healthier options and you will see better results from your sweaty workouts.
Move and shake every chance you get!
Every tiny bit counts! Small actions add up over time and will make a huge impact on your goals. Take the stairs every chance you get; park farther away and walk; stretch, squat and lunge when talking on the phone; walk briskly through the mall; etc.
There are so many benefits to working out in the morning. Your body will continue to burn calories after your workout is done. You will likely have better long-lasting effects, increased productivity, elevated mood, and an easier time choosing ‘good-for-you foods’ throughout your day. Thirty to 45 minutes of cardio and strength training is recommended, but even 10 minutes will get that blood pumping and get you set to rock your day.
Sleep & relaxation
Suffering from chronic low-grade stress and lack of sleep will decrease your energy, hamper your mood and motivation, and lead to elevated levels of unwanted stress hormones in your body.
Downtime is just as important as being active and eating nutrient-dense foods. Guided meditations and restorative yoga classes are a great way to relax and calm your nervous system. Ensure you get enough sleep to help you achieve hormone balance, burn more fat, and heal and repair your body after physical activity. Perhaps set a goal of increasing your sleep by 30 minutes per night for one week and see how you feel.
Fun, fun, fun & variety
Most importantly do what you LOVE. Keep it simple, choose activities you enjoy, and make sure you have fun!
Naomi Keane, owner of Oranj Fitness Airdrie, has a background in education, dance, fitness and nutrition.