One of the smartest ways to improve the quality of your life while optimizing your health is to adopt a regular exercise routine. A combination of cardiovascular, stretching and light weightlifting is optimal, but any routine that elevates your heart rate for at least 30 minutes three times a week should be sufficient to produce an improvement in your overall health. You may feel like you don’t have the time in your busy schedule, but this minor investment of your time and effort will provide abundant rewards like more restful sleep, emotional buoyancy and more overall energy that will more than compensate your investment.
If you are like most people, you probably are reluctant to begin an exercise regimen for a number of reasons like you will feel miserable at first, you will eventually stop, and you don’t feel that you need it. Most of these reasons are just excuses, but they do indicate the need for proper motivation. Whether it is family involvement, a better self-image, or a desire to enjoy life more, once you appropriate the right motivation, you will find that exercise isn’t a chore, but is a powerful opportunity to move one step closer to your ultimate goal.
Benefits of Exercise
We were designed by nature to be active, so it only makes sense that we should operate at peak efficiency only when we engage in vigorous activity on a regular basis. Foremost among the benefits of exercise is an improvement in health that yields a longer life. A study by the National Institutes of Health found that people who exercised strenuously for at least 1.5 hours a week could extend their life by as much as 4.5 years.
There are many reasons why regular exercise promotes a longer life, but one of the most important is that reduces one key risk factor for premature death—obesity. Regular exercise not only burns calories while you are performing your fitness routine, but it also empowers your fat-burning metabolism so that your body is more efficient even when you are not exercising.
Obesity comes with a host of health risks including diabetes, high blood pressure and atherosclerosis. By trimming a few pounds, you will dramatically raise your ability to avoid these serious health issues, and you will also appreciate your thinner body image.
Finally, a regular exercise routine will also improve your emotional health. Exercise promotes the production of endorphins, naturally found chemicals similar to opioids like morphine or heroin. Endorphins produce happiness, block stress and relieve pain. Many people experience a “runner’s high” following their fitness routine due to the elevated levels of endorphins. These positive neurotransmitters may also improve your cognitive function and induce more emotional buoyancy and energy. Perhaps most importantly, this positive feedback may be so rewarding that you will feel more motivated to maintain your exercise habit.
Do It for Others
Whether your spouse and children are already active or not, they will probably appreciate the opportunity to engage in a fun activity like a jog or swim that you can engage in together. You and your family can enjoy the benefits of a healthier lifestyle as well as the company of loved ones. This is an excellent way to motivate yourself while also deepening relationships with family members.
Making a habit of exercising with your kids is also an outstanding way to instill healthy habits. This gives them a break from the video screen while burning some calories. A regular exercise regime that is fun and engaging will convince them that staying healthy is worth the investment. If you think that more traditional exercises are a little boring, then you may wish to incorporate more exciting forms like dancing or martial arts.
Get a Professional Motivator
Everyone has a reason to look their best, whether it is an upcoming social event, maintaining the interest of your partner, or merely looking good during the warmer months. Vanity shouldn’t be your only motivation, but if it gets you started exercising, you should embrace it.
If you really want to look your best, you may want to invite a professional to help you. There are numerous fitness centers in most communities that cater to a wide range of body types and fitness levels that can help you find a comfortable way to get fitter. Many of these programs offer some enticing fitness themes like yoga, dance or self-defense, that also provide the company of others. Don’t underestimate the motivational power of camaraderie.
If you find that a gym membership or a fitness class still isn’t providing sufficient motivation, you may wish to enlist the help of a personal trainer. These highly knowledgeable professionals can customize an exercise program to meet your unique needs and goals, allowing you to target specific health or body image issues. They can help you meet your objective of fitting into your new bikini in time for your summer vacation, and they can help you do so safely and in relative comfort.
The fitness industry has adapted many new technologies to assist people reach their health goals. You have probably heard of some of the most popular devices like Fitbit that help you monitor your activity patterns. These devices store your personal data on the cloud, allowing you to track your current health habits and make real-time adjustments so that you meet your fitness milestones. You may also find more specialized tools like the Halo Sport that facilitates neural and muscular integration, so you achieve a more effective workout.
There are also a host of online tools that can help motivate you even if you don’t feel like leaving your home. You can join an online spinning class that will challenge you to reach the next level of fitness. There are numerous online apps like SparkPeople and Life Fitness Virtual Trainer that can help you start and finish your workout, as well as cap it off with the right energy cocktail or meal.