Why should I be physically active?
We are constantly hearing recommendations that we should exercise to improve our health, and for good reason. Physical activity can reduce the risk of heart attacks, decrease high blood pressure, lower our cholesterol levels, reduce the risk of osteoporosis, more resistant to disease, and make us stronger, more flexible, and help us build endurance.
In addition, we can improve our emotional health through regular exercise. For example, physical activity can improve our mood, reduce stress and improve our body image.
With all the benefits of physical activity, why is it so hard to be active regularly?
Research has found that the two greatest barriers to regular physical activity is lack of time and lack of motivation. In other words, as busy person who may be trying to balance work, family and other roles, we have a hard time making exercise a priority. Also, people who have never been active often don’t know how to get started or feel self-conscious when they start exercise.
So how can I find the time in my busy day to be active?
While there is no guaranteed way, people who are regularly active have shared a few tips:
• Exercise first thing in the morning before other commitments take your time and attention.
• Schedule time for physical activity just like any other appointment.
• Try to incorporate active time with family; walking with partner, bicycling with your children, or hiking with friends.
• Trade child care with your partner or a friend while you each alternate your activity.
Sometimes I don’t feel like being active. How can I stay motivated?
Start out doing small things; walking the dog, biking through your neighborhood, or gardening, that way your commitment to being active is not overwhelming.
Be physically active with a friend. Your active time becomes social time. Also, if you have made a commitment to be active with someone else, it is more difficult to cancel your workout.
Try something new; vary your biking route, try a new activity, or turn walking into hiking by changing the terrain.