Whether you’re just starting to incorporate exercise into your daily routine or you’re looking to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle, here are a few simple tips to help keep you on track to meet your goals.
1. Listen to your body. When you’re trying to adopt new healthy and active habits, it’s a good idea to work with your body instead of against it. If you’re a morning person, do your exercises in the morning; if you’re a night person, exercise after work. Your body will also let you know when you’re hungry and need nutrients, or when you need to take a rest. Some people need a snack before working out while others feel better when exercising on an empty stomach. Do what feels good to you and you will be more likely to stick to your new routine.
2. Never fear weight training. Lifting weights doesn’t automatically mean you will bulk up. Muscle actually takes up less space than an equal amount of fat. Weight training can help you lose fat and build muscle which can give women that slim, trim figure they want. Exercising with weights helps you increase your metabolism by increasing your muscle mass—this means you burn more calories both during exercise as well as at rest. As you build up strength over time, you can slowly increase the amount of weight you are lifting. Get expert advice to be sure you are lifting correctly so as to minimize injury. Aim for at least 30 minutes of weight training twice weekly.
3. Change it up! Whatever exercise you do, repeating the same workout over and over can contribute to boredom, as well as potentially overworking some muscle groups and underworking others. So change it up! Balance between cardio and weight training. Explore different routes and terrains while hiking or jogging. Go for a bike ride or shoot some hoops with work friends or your children! Ideally, you want to incorporate 30-45 minutes of moderate activity most days. Keeping your routine varied will contribute to a better overall fitness level and help you stay motivated.
4. Don’t forget your recovery meal. It may seem counterintuitive to eat after you’ve finished exercising, especially when you’ve just burned a lot of calories. But your body needs nutrients to recover and reenergize. It’s optimum to have a post workout snack that delivers protein and carbs—shakes or bars are the easiest way to refuel you and your muscles!
5. Find an exercise partner. Peer pressure can be good! Sometimes all you need to get the most out of your exercise is a friend or family member who will motivate you to keep going. An exercise partner can help you stay encouraged to pursue your health goals and maintain consistency in your routine and make it more enjoyable along the way.