4 Essential Life Changes to Support an Increase in Exercise
Did you know that more than 80 percent of adults and adolescents fall short of recommendations for aerobic activity? From cardiovascular health and weight maintenance to supporting mental health, exercise has numerous benefits, but it can be difficult to fit physical activity into your busy lifestyle. Whether you're a seasoned couch potato or a weekend warrior, consider these four essential lifestyle changes to help you get more exercise.
You don't have to hit the gym to get a good workout. Just walking is one of the best exercises you can do. Encourage yourself to walk more by parking farther away from the supermarket, walking to work or taking a stroll around the neighborhood after dinner. What if the weather is bad? Try getting a treadmill so you can walk while watching your favorite tv show.
Improve Your Nutrition
It's hard to get moving when you're running on empty. If your diet is devoid of nutrient dense foods like fruits, vegetables, lean protein and whole grains, you won't have the energy you need to power through a workout. Are you confused about what should go on your plate? Consider seeing a nutritionist who can develop customized nutrition plans for your unique energy needs.
Exercising makes you sweat, which means that hydration is essential when you're working out. Even mild dehydration can lead to fatigue, dizziness and muscle cramps, so remember to keep a bottle of water handy whether you're hitting the gym, track or your local park. It's also important to drink 15 to 20 ounces of water in the hour or two before you begin your workout.
Get More Sleep
Nearly half of American adults don't get enough sleep, and lack of shut-eye had numerous consequences including reduced athletic performance. If you're not getting at least seven hours of sleep at night, you may find yourself cutting your exercise sessions short in favor of a nap or crashing on the couch. Do you prefer to exercise early in the morning? Try sleeping in your workout clothes so you can catch a few extra z's and wake up ready to go.
Remember, getting enough exercise isn't just an individual problem. Working out is more fun together, so get your family, friends and community involved. Take the kids to the park, hit the gym with a buddy or start a neighborhood jogging group. You can also sign up for exercise classes at your local gym or community center.