We all have the best of intentions when it comes to adopting and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
We know that pushing aside the veggies and going for the chocolate cake too often is not the best way to lose or keep off weight, and that it won’t provide the nutrients our bodies need. We also know that we need to get off the couch more and be active on most days to have the energy we need and to help ward off illnesses.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, that’s 120 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity for those of us age 18 to 64 and 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity for those of us 65+ each week. Becoming active or meeting those standards, however, is often easier understood than done.
The key to success is to be more intentional. This means setting realistic goals and doing the best we can to achieve them.
Here are some proven tips for turning your best intentions into reality:
- Make a list of the benefits you hope to gain from becoming more physically active, and post it where everyone can see it.
- Write a list of excuses you might make for not doing physical activities you enjoy, and the ways you can overcome them.
- Write down the dates and times you’ll do your physical activities, what you’ll do, and who will do them with you.
- Get fit with family or friends; it’s more enjoyable and easier to stick to a routine when you have someone to be active with and to encourage you.
- Always warm-up at the beginning of your exercise sessions and cool-down at the end by stretching, walking, or doing the exercise more slowly.
It can be difficult to find time in your day to exercise or be active, but remember that even simple tasks and chores count as physical activities. Here are some other ways that you can creatively add exercise to your day:
- Sweep the house or rake the yard.
- Do light aerobic exercises while watching TV.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.
- Walk or bike instead of driving or taking the bus.
- Form a walking group among your friends and neighbors and schedule walks throughout the week.
Don’t feel that you have to do several of these approaches at the same time. Being intentional also means taking the time to assess which activities work best for your lifestyle and goals. If one activity doesn't work, try another so that your exercise plan best meets your needs – no matter how tempting that slice of chocolate cake or new TV program may be.
For more tips on adopting a healthy lifestyle, including simple, affordable recipes and fun physical activities, download these Oasis CATCH Healthy Habits Healthy Living Guides .