BODY IN MOTION

get on track to a healthier lifestyle 

by Reisha Zang

The thought of losing weight, cutting out carbs or taking better care of yourself probably crossed your mind in January. So now, three months later, chances are you still are debating about how you are going to actually do this. Hiring a personal trainer, finding a yoga class or enrolling in a boot camp are all viable options to get you on the right track to a healthier lifestyle. However, making that commitment is difficult. So here are seven easy steps that will keep you on track while you are contemplating your ultimate workout path.

PARK IT

No, this does not mean find a comfortable spot on the couch in front of the television with a bag of chips. It does mean to rethink how you look for a parking space. Don’t spend time searching for that perfect spot right near the entrance. It isn’t good for the environment, and it isn’t good for you.   Park it in a space as far away from the door that you can find. Those few extra steps to and from your car will add up over the course of a day.

SHAKE YOUR GROOVE THING

Dancing is a fun way to get moving that doesn’t feel like exercise. Turn on your favorite tunes and let loose. You don’t need any special equipment or clothing, just a little space in your house so you don’t bump into anything. In fact, listening to music no matter what type of exercise you are doing can improve your results. Music instantly perks up your mood and makes everything more fun. It can help pass the time so that you may exercise longer, harder and faster without even realizing it.  

PUMP IT UP

If walking is part of your exercise regimen, start carrying small weights.  Bend your arms so there is a 90-degree angle at your elbow and then pump them back and forth. Pay attention to your posture; don’t slouch and focus on taking full breaths when you walk. Pumping up the activity you are already doing will improve your results. These little changes to your regular walk will increase the intensity of your walk, help your muscles work better and burn more calories.  

DO IT YOURSELF

There is something to be said for good old-fashioned elbow grease. Instead of hiring someone to wash your car, mow your lawn or clean your house, do it yourself. According to caloriecount.com, a person that weighs 150 pounds can burn 238 calories an hour vacuuming and 204 calories for heavy cleaning, like washing the windows or the car. Gardening can work off 272 calories, the equivalent of a Grande Starbuck’s Latte made with whole milk or just one calorie less than a Snickers bar. 

THE BUDDY SYSTEM

Enlisting the help of a friend can also keep you moving. Making a plan to meet someone to work out will increase your chances of exercising. When you commit to a specific time and place, chances are pretty high that you will keep that commitment. Sometimes it even creates a little friendly competition and you try harder. In the best of circumstances a workout buddy can inspire, motivate and challenge you. Worst case, they hold you accountable and at least get you to participate.

TAKE NOTE

Start a log of the different types of exercise you do every day, the number of minutes you spend doing each and the level of exertion. Wearing a pedometer can also make a difference. Being mindful of how much exercise you actually are doing will influence the amount of time you exercise. Studies have shown that the simple act of monitoring your progress will increase your activity level. It triggers something in the brain that subliminally makes you work harder, almost setting up a personal challenge or goal for you to achieve.

GET UP AND GO

Getting the right amount of exercise can be a challenge for everyone. “There is no easy way out,” says Oprah Winfrey. “If there were, I would have bought it. And believe me, it would be one of my favorite things!” The best way to achieve a healthy lifestyle is to just get up and start moving. Instead of hanging out in the break room at work, take a walk around the block or pace the hallways. If you are a morning person, set your alarm 15 minutes earlier and jog on a treadmill or practice yoga. If waking up earlier is out of the question, take your dog for a walk or your child for a bike ride after dinner.