Exercise doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing proposition. You don’t have to spend hours in a gym or force yourself into monotonous or painful activities you hate to experience the physical and emotional benefits. Adding just a little physical activity to your weekly routine can have a profound effect on your mental and emotional health. Whatever your age or fitness level—even if you’ve never exercised a day in your life before—you can find simple, fun ways to add more movement into your life and start to feel better, look better..
Exercising moderately for 30 minutes, five times a week is one of the best things you can do for your physical and mental health. Can’t find 30 minutes in your busy schedule? That’s okay, two 15-minute workouts or three 10-minute workouts can be just as effective.
If that still seems like a daunting amount of time to spend exercising, don’t despair. Even just a little physical activity is better than none at all. Try starting by taking a short walk on most days, and gradually build up the length of your sessions from there. It takes about 4 weeks for an activity to become a habit so commit to maintaining your schedule for at least that long. As exercising becomes habit, you can slowly add extra minutes or try different types of activities. If you keep at it, the benefits you experience will begin to mount. While any kind of exercise offers tremendous health benefits, different types of exercise focus more on certain aspects of your health. Mixing up the different types of exercise can add variety to your workouts and broaden the health benefits.
- Aerobic activities like running, cycling, and swimming strengthen your heart and increase your endurance.
- Strength training like weight lifting or resistance training builds muscle and bone mass, improves balance and prevents falls. It’s one of the best counters to frailty in old age.
- Flexibility exercises like stretching and yoga help prevent injury, enhance range of motion, reduce stiffness, and limit aches and pains.
Exercise is as Good for Your Mind as it is Your Body
Everyone knows that regular exercise is good for the body. It can help you to control your appetite, lose weight, shed inches, and lower your risk for a variety of serious diseases. But the benefits don’t stop there. Exercise is as effective as antidepressant medication at relieving depression and boosting your mood. It can also help you to relieve stress and anxiety, improve your self-esteem, sleep better, and cope with life’s challenges in a healthy, positive way.
Tips for Getting Started in an Exercise Program
- Focus on activities you enjoy
- Take it Slow
- Focus on Short Term Goals
- Make Exercise a Priority
- Go Easy on Yourself
- Expect Ups and Downs
Other Ways to Keep Your Exercise Program Going
- Be Consistent
- Record Your Progress
- Keep it interesting
- Spread the Word
- Get Inspired