Foundations of Health Part 4: Exercise - How to Kick it Into Gear
Here we are – part 4 of our foundations of health series. Exercise.
So, it’s smart to work out, right? Of course it is. Besides the fact that exercise literally boosts brain power (!), there is an endless list of benefits you can get from exercise.
That being said, it is likely most of us aren’t getting enough exercise. Personally, I am the queen of yo-yo exercising (is that a thing?). Some weeks its yoga classes, circuit training and endless sweating; other weeks it’s an exercise hiatus, followed by restless sleeps and pent up energy. The Canadian physical activity guidelines recommend that adults aged 18-65 participate in at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity per week, in bouts of 10 minutes or more. It is also recommended to add muscle and bone strengthening activities at least 2 days per week. I am not going to sit here and list all the positive effects that studies have shown for exercise, because we will be here forever! But to list a few, exercise can help reduce the risk of premature death, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, certain types of cancer, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and obesity. It can also lead to improved quality of sleep, mental alertness, reduce symptoms of moderate depression, improved sense of well being, improved skin and boost the immune system. This link Here has additional facts from studies about the benefits of exercise.
Exercise doesn’t always have to be the big scary gym or over crowded fitness class either. Lets break it down a bit:
There are 4 different types of exercise:
1. Endurance/aerobic: these are activates that increase your breathing and heart rate, such as walking, jogging, yard work or dancing.
2. Strength: these make your muscles stronger, such as lifting weights.
3. Balance: this type of exercise helps prevent falls, such as standing on one foot and tai chi.
4. Flexibility: flexibility stretches your muscles and gives you more freedom of movement, such as yoga and static stretching.
Each type has their own benefit, so be sure to switch it up and incorporate all of them into your routine.
Ok, you understand how important it is….but you’ve known that for a while and still can not get into the routine. Here are some simple tricks to help kick you into gear:
Write it down: Writing down our goals makes us more motivated and accountable to accomplish them. Try and be specific – “Thursday I will do 15 minutes of yoga before I eat breakfast”.
Just do it: We can spend a lot of time debating if we will make it to the class on time, or if we are in the mood for our scheduled work out… JUST DO IT. Motivation follows action, and not the other way around ;)
Grab a buddy: We all get by with a little help from our friends… having a work out buddy will help motivate us and keep us accountable. It also adds an element of fun, and maybe a little gossip time.
Multi task: who doesn’t love the satisfaction of a good multi-task? Schedule a meeting while walking through the park or on the golf course, take a bike ride with friends instead of sitting in the house, or work out during commercials of your favourite TV show.
Find a good playlist: Fact: music improves workouts. Spend a few extra minutes today searching for your favourite jams and have them ready to go for your next round of exercise.
Reward yourself: Getting into a routine, fitting something else into your schedule and trying something new can all be hard. Don’t be afraid to reward yourself for all your hard work. Buy that new yoga matt, purchase the month trial at the new barre studio, or pick up that new flavour of tea you’ve been dying to try – you deserve it, rockstar !
Feeling a little inspired? Here’s this weeks challenge (it's 2 parts)
Add at least 10 minutes of exercise each day for the next 7 days AND write it down on a post it note and stick it on your mirror. Not sure what to do? Try the 7-minute work out (available on phone apps, youtube or a PDF)!