Sometimes it can seem like fitness is a full-time job. In order to achieve your goals, whether they are to run a marathon, fit into your skinny jeans, or lower your blood pressure, the overall task can be daunting. Keeping in mind that we all have busy lives, I’ve compiled a list of five easy things you can do that will add up to big results.
1.) The hardest part about a fitness routine is starting it. There are few people who will readily sacrifice an extra hour of sleep to run outside on a cold, dark morning. But there are probably even fewer that would give up once they’re already suited up and out the door. My suggestion is to have your gym clothes ready for whenever you plan to squeeze a workout in and lace up those sneakers as quickly as possible, before you even have time to change your mind. Once you’re dressed for a run, your mind is already out the door. Now get your body to follow it!
2.) Boost your metabolism. There are literally thousands of studies on metabolism and how it can impact not just your weight, but overall health. There are tricks ranging from spiking your food with hot red pepper to chugging ice water all day. While these tips may hold some credence, the actual quantity of calories burned is not always particularly significant. However, one surefire way to increase your resting metabolic rate is to increase your lean muscle mass. So try incorporating more weight training into your usual workout to maximize your fitness potential. With an increased muscle mass, your body will burn more calories even when you’re at rest.
3.) There’s not always time to squeeze in a workout, no matter how well you plan your day. This is where we can take into account several little things and add them up. Walk to
work. If you must commute, park your car in a lot over, or take the bus to a stop before your destination. I always take the stairs, even if I have a lot to carry (more of a workout!). Five to ten minutes of exertion several times a day can easily add up to 30 minute
s or more of solid activity, which will keep you fit and energized.
4.) Multi-tasking is essential for a productive, healthy life. As a graduate student, my study time often threatens to cut into my workouts. Luckily, I’ve found I can listen to lectures, or even watch them on my electronic tablet while I run on the treadmill. Not only do I get a great review, but a great workout too! The stationary bike is a good place to catch up on any reading or lecture notes as well.
5.) Weigh yourself daily or weekly. Or take measurements, track how long it takes you to run a mile, anything that can document your progress. I really like this wifi scale that allows you to log your progress. Many studies have shown that people are more likely to commit to a fitness plan if they can quantify their progress. So update that fitness log, and be proud of your successes, no matter how small! This will keep you motivated.
Exercise is only half of the fitness equation. Good nutrition is vital for a healthy and fit body. After all, the rewards of several hours of intense exercise can be decimated with only a few poor dietary decisions. Next week I’ll give five tips for healthy (and fun!) eating.