It’s the time of the year when many of us think about “changing up” a few things in the New Year… whether it is achieving a financial goal, breaking an old habit, stepping out of our comfort zone, meeting new people, or whatever your sites are set on, one thing is for certain….. any goal will be easier to achieve if you feel your best! So what comes first, the chicken or the egg? We all have to start somewhere in achieving a goal! Whether it is one of the above-mentioned, or a health goal such as weight loss, toning up, eating healthier, lowering your blood pressure, etc., one thing is for certain….consistent exercise in your life will have a positive effect on everything you do. When you feel better, you look better, and with that, you will have more confidence, energy, and vitality, which in turn brings both mental and physical well-being. You will have a better chance at achieving any goal if you feel good.
An old expression comes to my mind that isn’t used much any more….vim and vigor! This combined “term” means vitality, high energy, robust health, great enthusiasm, activity, liveliness. Who couldn’t use more vim and vigor?
How Do We Achieve Vim and Vigor?
Several years ago, I came to the realization that EXERCISE IS A LIFESTYLE. When I figured this out, it was easy for me to make it a part of my weekly routine. It even became a large part of my social life. Becoming active introduced me to like-minded people. These people tended to have a positive attitude. I attributed their positive attitude to just getting out there and moving! I could usually find someone to walk, run, bike, kayak or lift weights with, but these activities were things I could do on my own too. These activities may not be for you, but my point is that you need to find out what works for you.
Make exercise a priority because it is important! Anything worthwhile takes time and effort. It is sort of like building a bank account. When you consistently put money in the bank, your account looks healthier. Every time you exercise, you are making yourself a little stronger, and a little healthier. Both pay off in the long run and you are never too old to start.
Create a Routine
Creating a fitness routine is a necessary first step. This may seem tough for many because they don’t know where to start. The good news is that a fitness routine is easier than you might think. It is not necessary to sacrifice hours of your time, or spend hundreds of dollars on a gym membership. Spending a few minutes each day “getting the blood flowing” will increase your strength, energy and even your motivation. The key is, again, finding out what works for you and sticking to it. Ask yourself, “What activities do I enjoy?” Do you like walking? Find a distance that is comfortable for you. Maybe you can only walk one block. That’s okay. Keep walking one block until you think you can walk two blocks, and so on. This is how I started running. I walked a block and ran a block and worked my way up to a mile. Eventually I could go three miles and worked my way up to several miles. Grab a neighbor, friend, or family member to go with you. It makes it more fun! Wintertime may be challenging, but the malls are a good place to go if the sidewalks are slippery. Do you have an exercise bike or stair-climber? Dust it off. Start out with a few minutes and work your way up to 15-20 minutes. If it seems too boring, turn on some motivating music.
There are plenty of free phone apps out there for any level of fitness. I have a 7-minute workout app on my phone that is perfect if I don’t have much time. You say you can’t make it through 7 minutes? It’s okay. Do what you can. Be consistent. In a week or two, I will assure you that you will be able to go the whole 7 minutes! Accept the soreness of your muscles. It means they are working! And, make sure you are drinking plenty of water. Before you know it, you will be able repeat the app 2-3 times if you have 20 minutes, or so to spare. Strength, endurance and stamina will be built each time you exercise.
Busy lifestyle? Kids? Demanding job? Stress? Even if you have only have 5 minute time periods throughout the day, you can do wall sits, planks, tricep dips on a chair, or abdominal crunches….just to name a few. The other day I did 50 squats while I watched the weather! If you don’t know how to do some of these exercises, the information is at your fingertips. Do a simple internet search.
Don’t Give Up!
Remember that any amount of exercise counts…again, as long as you do it consistently. Think about your life in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years. If you stay active and pursue a healthy lifestyle, your chances are much better of staying out of assisted living or a nursing home. I don’t know about you, but when I reach my golden years, I would much rather be able to go on a vacation and vigorously hike up a trail than be rolled down the hallway of a nursing home.
If you continually make excuses, days turn into months, and months into years. Some day you may not be healthy enough to do anything at all, and you wish you would have worked on your health. By then, you may have so many health issues that keep you from doing the things you love. Believe me, it’s much easier to start today than to wait. Start out small. Give yourself two or three weeks of being consistent and you will find more strength, endurance and stamina. You will want to keep going.
Exercise is only part of a healthy lifestyle. Proper sleep, reducing your stress, eating clean, drinking pure water, eliminating processed foods and chemicals out of your diet and reducing stress as well as cultivating good relationships are other rules to follow. Think of exercising as a marathon. You just have to keep going. It isn’t a sprint. It’s a long-term commitment and lifestyle change. You didn’t get out of shape overnight and you won’t instantly transform your body either. Be patient. Don’t expect too much, too soon. If you make a mistake. So what. Don’t beat yourself up. Slowly implement other positive lifestyle changes such as cutting out sugar. Make better food choices. Cut out the chemicals. You will reach your health goals faster. To maximize your fitness level, you must do aerobic exercise to increase your heart rate, strength training, balance training and flexibility training. All four types will help you feel your best.
At Herbs4You, we want to help you get your vim and vigor back! Making positive changes will get you on the right path. Our staff is here to help answer any questions and we have many products to get you moving in the right direction. Get moving!!
You should always check with your health provider before beginning an exercise program.
We’re Here to Help YOU!
Sue Froschheuser, M.H.