It's good advice. The advantages of leading a healthy and active lifestyle have been well-researched. But after investing in the cute exercise clothes, and selecting the ideal activity, what happens when the preparation for a daily fitness routine proved more interesting than the routine itself? Something is missing from your workout. Could it be one of these?
An avid runner friend of mine looks forward to her daily three-mile run; mainly because her focus is on clearing her head, not the road before her. For the rest of us, shaking up the routine can keep our pursuit of fitness fresh and interesting. Also, the advantage of alternating cardio days with yoga days creates a routine that benefits all aspects of overall health. This is especially true when encouraging your family to get fit. One day can be devoted to Pilates, the next day can be a family bike ride.
Set a goal then put it writing, suggests the American Diabetes Association. "Writing goals down can help. Put them in a place where you will see them often—on the refrigerator, your bathroom mirror, or in your purse or wallet."
Focusing your energies on accomplishing something specific adds two benefits. First, it creates an incentive to achieve a new level, a heavier weight or a greater distance. Also, your body benefits from the new challenge. In this way, your body keeps working and gaining strength or endurance in the process. Second, it creates an opportunity for you to see how you have progressed. That can build incentive to keep going and challenging yourself further.
Broadening your idea of fitness
If your workout is feeling monotonous, it's time to expand your view of exercise. Dancing, tennis, kickboxing, paddle boarding, softball, pickleball, among other things, provide varying degrees of cardiovascular exercise and can ignite a renewed commitment to daily exercise. Also, it is a great way to make daily fitness a family activity. A backyard game of Bocce can encourage family members of all ages to participate. At times, we enjoy our solitary moments during exercise, but exercise that encourages socializing is a great balance and gives daily fitness that staying power to remain a regular part of your routine.
With the pressures of life weighing us down, one of the most effective fitness routines focuses on making you emotionally fit. All it requires is that you learn to breathe. Diaphragmatic breathing has been effective in controlling high blood pressure, reducing stress, slows the aging process and encourages the release of serotonin.
"Breathing is the very first thing you do when you're born, and it's the last thing you do before you die. It must be important. "Really important," wrote certified RKC trainer Geoff Neupert in the Men's Health article, The Most Important Exercise Missing From Your Workout. "It balances out your sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, allowing your body to function more optimally. It helps reduce the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol, which are more often than not elevated due to stress-filled work environments and a lack of sleep."
If you have made the commitment to build a better body for yourself-congratulations. You are on the right path to better health. But if your workout routine is feeling more like a chore than a blessing taking a look at alternating activities, goal-setting, alternative forms of exercise and remembering to breathe through life may be just the thing missing from your workout.
Dr. Amy Osmond Cook received her Ph.D. from the University of Utah in Communication. She is Dir. of Provider Relations at North American Health Care and taught writing, communication, and marketing classes at ASU, BYU, and Univ of Utah.