Spring Into Being Active
Shannon Jones, Take Control Health Coach
Spring is a time of renewal, which makes it the perfect time to start or re-energize your exercise or activity routine. If you’ve been hibernating all winter, it’s time to get outside, stretch your legs, and get active again. Exercise helps your body, mind, and soul, so take some time to make a plan to get started.
Here are 5 tips to help you “spring” into being active:
- Identify Your Motivation. It’s important to focus on your true goal, your "why." Your ability to stick with any goal or lifestyle change depends on your motivation. You may want to start exercising, but why? To lose weight, to increase your energy, to prevent high blood pressure or diabetes? Or do you want to feel more confident and comfortable in your body? Your true “why” will help you keep going. Write down your goals. Make them specific, measurable, achievable, and time-based.
- Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day. Start with where you are. If walking around the block is more than you’re doing now, start there. Avoid starting where you want to BE and just start where you ARE. Make your exercise approachable, realistic, and accessible. Even 10 minutes is better than nothing. Easing into exercise can help build your confidence and prevent injuries.
- Mark Your Calendar. Don’t just wing it, create a plan. Schedule your exercise in advance. Write down your exercise as an appointment, protect that time, and don’t base your exercise upon your emotions. Having a plan for exercise helps give it structure and maintain momentum.
- Get Creative. Build in movement throughout your day by finding little ways to incorporate physical activity. Try a walking meeting instead of sitting in the conference room; use your cell phone for phone calls so you can take a stroll while on the phone, take the stairs instead of the elevator, park farther from the store, stand more through your work day, walk to the farthest bathroom or water fountain.
- Outdoor Magic. Walking, hiking, bicycling, swimming, and outdoor sports are great ways to renew your energy – mind and body. Being active outdoors is also good for your mental health, and growing research confirms this benefit. Advantages of “green exercise” – intentionally being physically active in natural environments — include stress relief, clearer thinking, enhanced mood and happiness, less anxiety, more vitality, reduced pain sensations, improved sleep, and less tension and depression (IDEA Fitness Journal, March 2018).
A healthy lifestyle is a habit you work toward and get better at—not a thing you just get up and start doing one day. Don’t know where to start? Ask your health coach for help to get started with your health and fitness goals.