This time of year many goals and resolutions are set, but at the end of the year not many have been achieved. Resolutions that are commonly dropped are “I will get healthier this year,” or “I will exercise every day.” Exercise and a healthy lifestyle are some of the hardest goals to stay motivated and to stick with.
It’s difficult to find time, courage and commitment to exercise, but everyone should. Sure health risks and medical conditions are great reasons to exercise, but emotional aspects can also reap exercise benefits. With these obvious benefits, why not exercise? Well the simple answer is no one wants to do it. There is no immediate gratification with exercise, so it’s tough to see the real effects of it. Long term effects help people to live a longer and happier life. Exercise can help drop pounds, increase immunity against the common cold and flu, reduce overall health risks, promote healthy organ function, add years to a person’s life and reduce stress.
These long term effects are enough to get off the couch and exercise, but how? Jumping into a rigorous work out plan might seem like the right way to go about exercising, but it isn’t. Working out two to three times a week for 20 or 30 minutes is the best way to start out. Between school, friends, social activities and an after school job, making time for working out seems next to impossible. It isn’t; making time in the mornings and on the weekends is essential to becoming more fit.
Another essential is to get active enjoyably. Think outside of the box for work out ideas. There a so many new and fun ways to exercise like Zumba, cycle class, aerobics and Wii Fit at home. All of these can really boost will power and produce results. But don’t try doing some advanced cycling class full of experts with music that sounds like screeching cats. By working out in pleasurable conditions it will become more enjoyable and more likely to become a routine. Once working out becomes a routine, there is always time for reward. This reward is not chocolate, McDonalds or Starbucks gift card, but a trip, a new pair of tennis shoes or work out equipment. An exercise regiment should become more like life. Life can be different for different people; a regular high school student can’t exercise during the day so that student has to make time before or after school. Life also means interacting with people. When exercising it helps if there is a person that can help to motivate and acknowledge that the other person is trying to better themselves.
While at the gym, it’s hard not to compare this person to that person, but refrain. This can lower self confidence and crush built up work ethic. It is important to remember that everyone is an individual, and it takes courage and commitment to step inside of that gym, running group or to buy that fitness equipment. Remember the common goal of all people trying to get healthy is to get fit; it’s not to judge or be judged.
Keeping New Year’s resolutions can be life changing for the better. Living a long and healthy life can start this year, or any year. The important thing is to start. Even through these chilly winter months when working out outside is not an option, hit the gym and stay active.