Making “Healthy” a Reality Pt. III: Motivating Movements

“Uncertainty is the blank space before creation.” – Author Unknown

You are only limited by what you impose on yourself.  Therefore, the behavior of adding movement to your day and motivating yourself to become healthier need not be felt as daunting, but more as “wondering”. You should ask, “I wonder what it would be like if I tried…” To get your creative juices stirring, I’ve put together a list of 10 movements that might be worth forming a habit for.  Let the motivation creation begin!

1. Walk 10 minutes each day, before breakfast and dinner.

Or on your breaks at work. Studies show (1) small bouts of brisk walks throughout your day is more beneficial than one lump sum of a longer duration of movement. Plus, walking is functional. If we want to be free of wheel-chairs and walkers as we stroll into our 90s, we would do well to walk our socks off.

2. Try stand-up paddle boarding.

Recently, I took a woman out for a paddle boarding lesson who had never exercised a day in her life. She wanted personal training, so I knew the best way to effectively ease her into working her whole body could be done by introducing her to stand up paddling. Stand up paddling (or SUP) works the entire body when done appropriately. Moreover, it’s no impact, and it involves the therapeutic effect of connecting with nature, fresh air, sunshine and Vitamin D, all of which dramatically effect weight loss and improving overall health.

3. Be N.E.A.T. Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis, that is.

Remember when you mopped the floor on your hands and knees? Or when you washed your own car instead of pulling it into the drive-thru car wash? What about when you took stairs instead of escalators? You still have the power to do those things. It’s a matter of choosing health over convenience. True, these things save time. But what kind of time are you gaining when your health is suffering? It’s a matter of quality versus quantity.

Wash dishes by hand instead of loading the dish washer. Have a dance party with your kids rather than turning on cartoons for them. Mow your lawn with a push mower instead of riding on one. These little NEAT things add up to daily workouts without even hitting the gym, and bring you more satisfaction of having sparkling clean dishes, because let’s face it – dishes are simply cleaner when you wash them by hand.

4. Join the club.

Join a physical-activity inclined club that you would enjoy. Running. Golf. Tennis. Belonging to something with like-minded individuals can be a great way to find accountability to show up and participate. Accountability and expected participation can be exceptional motivation.

5. Enlist a free personal trainer – your child.

A great way to interact and play with your kids is to let them boss you around for a change. Ask your child to play a game such as “Simon Says” where they get to be Simon and tell you moves to do. This is great outside play time too. Commit to try to do whatever they request and don’t forget to thank them when your workout is over!

6. Try YouTube workouts!

Not sure what kind of exercise you might like? Try them all. YouTube literally holds hundreds of thousands of every type of workout imaginable. Each day for a week, type in some kind of a workout you would like to try in the search engine. “10 minute pilates”, “beginner kick boxing”, “walking in place”, “20 minute ab workout”, “restorative yoga” “belly dancing for beginners” “Workout with your toddler”. You will be amazed at the plethora of free workouts that are literally at your fingertips. Click here for for some great free starter workouts.

7. Take a hike.

Hiking, sometimes known as “forest bathing”, is a great way to enhance your motivation and set your own pace when it comes to exercise. Negative Ions and essential oils emitting from trees are elemental when it comes to healing motivation centers in the brain, and calming anxiety and tension. You can stop and rest as needed. You can go as long or as little as you like. You can share the experience/workout with a friend or partner. And, almost every city in the world has some form of local hiking trails that are easy and accessible.

8. Go jump in the lake.

Go jump in the lake, river or pool. Cold water immersion, even when just slightly cold is a stellar way to not only get some activity in, but also engage in cold therapy which stimulates the metabolism to speed up in response to keeping the body warm. Try jogging in the shallows, or swimming laps, or simply treading water and resting as needed. Even as little as 15 minutes can go a long way in speeding metabolism both during and after your dip.

9. Put on some weight.

movements

As in, a weighted vest! Adding weight to your body through a weighted vest can be a great way to make your everyday activities more strenuous, producing more of an on-going resistance training as you move through all your to-dos. With as little as a vest that is equivalent to 15% of your own bodyweight, you can increase calorie burning by 12%, research shows (2).

10. Resistance training is simple… with this Simple Strength Routine.

Resistance training is more well-received by those just getting back into fitness, or new to fitness since it is a bit slower pace, and doesn’t require pounding the pavement or hopping on a piece of cardio equipment for longs periods of time. In as little as 15 minutes, you can get a great total body workout that is low-impact, joint-friendly, and simple to implement. Click here for a guided workout that anyone can do with even the lightest set of weights.

movements

No matter what you choose as your healthy new habit, get it in following the guidelines set by the American College of Sports Medicine for optimal health:

Resistance Exercise

  • Adults should train each major muscle group two or three days each week using a variety of exercises and equipment.
  • Very light or light intensity is best for older persons or previously sedentary adults starting exercise.
  • Two to four sets of each exercise will help adults improve strength and power.
  • For each exercise, 8-12 repetitions improve strength and power, 10-15 repetitions improve strength in middle-age and older persons starting exercise, and 15-20 repetitions improve muscular endurance.
  • Adults should wait at least 48 hours between resistance training sessions.

 

References:

  1. http://awomanshealth.com/10-minute-workouts-three-times-a-day-for-better-health/
  2. http://acefitness.org/acefit/expert-insight-article/47/4867/improve-walking-workouts-with-weighted-vests
  3. http://www.acsm.org/about-acsm/media-room/news-releases/2011/08/01/acsm-issues-new-recommendations-on-quantity-and-quality-of-exercise