This month LifeSpan is focusing on the benefits of walking and avoiding the dangers of inactivity. April 2nd marked the American Heart Association’s National Walking Day, 24 hours dedicated to getting up and moving. The day itself has come and gone, but that doesn’t mean that the inspiration has as well.
Spring time is a season dedicated to new beginnings! If you’re contemplating beginning a new walking program or increasing your amount of activity, take a look at the recommendations below. Throughout my career I’ve had the pleasure of watching multiple individuals bring their ambitions to fruition following these suggestions. Take a moment to see if they fit your personality.
Find Your Motivation:
No matter what you’re trying to accomplish, you’re going to be undertaking change. And let’s face it, change is difficult. For whatever reason, people are seemingly resistant to lifestyle adjustments. Motivation acts as the impetus to throw the covers off the bed in the morning and go exercise versus sleeping in or going to the gym after work rather than sinking into the couch.
It’s critically important to determine what it is that’s pushing you to want to act differently tomorrow than you are today. Not what you’ll do, but rather why you’ll do so. For some it’s to look better at an upcoming reunion or to feel more confident during swimsuit season. For others it might be to improve their health for their kids or family.
Finding your specific reason for the effort you’re putting forth can be the difference between success and disappointment. Take a few moments to determine this motivation, and once you have, make it physical. Write it down on a piece of paper and keep it where you’ll encounter it, or save it in your personal journal in your LifeSpan Fitness Club account. When times get hard, refer back to why you began in the first place.
Determine Your Goals:
You would never drive your car without an idea of how to get where you’re going. Goals act as your ambition’s immediate and long-term roadmap. Without them it’s incredibly easy to fail to see progress you’re making and lose energy towards your efforts. Effective goal development is when ambition and practicality merge. Whether you want to walk more, lose weight or get stronger, the process should be the same. Set small, achievable goals that lead to the larger desire that you’re ultimately striving for.
Short, medium and long term goals provide a gentle progression that is friendly on your body and psyche. Determine what you want to ultimately accomplish and divide it into achievable sub-goals. For example; three, six and twelve month stages. If you ultimately want to lose 50 pounds (your long-term goal) attempt to lose 1-2 pounds per week for the first three months (short-term goal) to reach 25 pounds (medium-term goal). Don’t be afraid to celebrate short-term, smaller successes! They’re the foundation on which larger accomplishments are created.
People are highly forgetful and old habits die hard. Once you determine what your individual goals are, write them down! Along with your previously composed motivations, this is incredibly helpful to keep you pressing forward. Put them on a piece of paper near your bathroom mirror. On your desk at work. Compose them in the Goals section of your LifeSpan Fitness Club account. No matter what, make them present. They’re more effective that way than when they’re simply thoughts.
Set Yourself up for Success:
It’s hard enough to commit to change as it is. Before you begin, set yourself up for success. Gently maneuver your time and resources to facilitate your new desire. If you know that you’re going to be exercising in the evening, prepare throughout the day to free up your schedule by the time you will want to begin. If you love to be outside, don’t lock yourself inside of a dark gym. Give yourself a workout playlist of your favorite songs. If you know that you’re going to want to track your steps and activity, consider investing in an activity monitor such as LifeSpan’s MyStride.
Also, inform your support groups that you’re going to be attempting to make a change. Let your spouse or loved ones know of your ambitions so that they can facilitate your efforts rather than accidentally hinder them.
Now comes the hard part. Get moving! It’s completely understandable that this is the most difficult part of the whole process. That inner voice that says “If I don’t begin I can’t fail trying” is unbelievably convincing. Everyone who has ever completed a marathon, however, has taken the first step. Keep your hopes high, your self-judgment low and simply start moving. A wise man once said “If you had started doing anything two weeks ago, by now you’d be two weeks better at it.”
Track Your Efforts!
Once you begin, be proud of the work you’ve done. Record them for your own personal sense of accomplishment as well as for improving your efforts. Write your specific exertions down by hand, put it into the notepad on your smartphone or upload it digitally into your LifeSpan Fitness Club account’s exercise results section.
Reassess Your Standing and Re-evaluate Your Goals:
Once you have created a baseline of effort, consider reviewing and adjusting your goals. It’s not uncommon for goals to require tuning once a program has started, either because they might have been too intense or too easily completed. Your efforts will have provided you with a greater insight into your circumstance than you previously had. Don’t be afraid to use this new understanding to your advantage.
It’s the perfect time of year to take the first step towards your health and fitness ambitions. Using your LifeSpan Fitness Club membership and the recommendations above you can ensure your success. If you have any questions at all or need any further ideas you can always reach out to me via email or socially on Twitter and Facebook.
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