swimmingMany people promise themselves each year that this is the year they will get fit and healthy, but they fail to follow through on that promise. Usually it’s not for a lack of trying. The biggest problem most people face in developing a workout routine is choosing the one that’s most suitable to their lifestyle and circumstances.

All too often, in a burst of optimism, people choose a routine that is too advanced for their level of fitness or requires a lot time. When the workout proves to be difficult to maintain, they tend to give up.

If improving your health by working out regularly is one of your goals, it’s not too late to get started. However, before you head off to the gym, there are a few things you will probably want to do first.

  • It’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor before starting any kind of exercise program, especially if you have any health issues.

  • Taking some time to consider how much time you have and what types of exercise you enjoy will also improve your chances of sticking to your fitness routine.

Walk Your Way to Health
No matter how busy you are, everyone can help improve their health and fitness by walking.

  • Park your car as far from the door as possible and walk briskly into the building.

  • Try getting off the elevator a floor or two below yours and walking up the stairs to your office.

  • If you can, put on your walking shoes after lunch and go for a brisk 10-15 minute walk.

Not only will it help improve your fitness, the fresh air can also help increase your energy level for the afternoon.

Practice Yoga for a Healthy Body and Mind
Another simple workout routine you could fit into your day is yoga. Even if you don’t have time to go to a class, you can benefit from a yoga workout. All you need is a mat and a small amount of floor space.

  • If you’ve never practiced yoga before, you might want to find a website or DVD that shows you how to perform the moves and positions and helps you develop a routine you can follow.

  • This is a great idea for people with little time or ability to get to a gym or class, such as single mothers or people working more than one job.

Incorporating yoga positions and practices into your daily life is another way to benefit from the practice and improve your health. For instance;

  • While you are waiting for your coffee or tea to brew in the morning, try balancing yourself on one leg while lifting your other foot and breathing deeply.

  • When that afternoon slump hits, try lacing your fingers behind your lower back and gently stretch your arms away from your body, pressing your shoulder blades together as you breathe deeply. This will stretch your muscles and get oxygen into your system, which will boost your energy.

Vigorous Physical Activity Helps Relieve Stress
For those who are more active and energetic, practicing yoga may prove to be less interesting than an exercise program that involves a lot of movement. If that sounds like you;

  • You might want to consider joining an adult athletic team, such as a community basketball league.

  • Martial arts classes are very popular right now, giving you an opportunity to incorporate exercise with learning self-defense skills.

  • Riding a bike or roller-blading are other exercise options for someone looking for a more energetic workout.

Workout Options for People with Diabetes
If you are suffering from a health problem such as diabetes, it’s important that you exercise regularly to help prevent complications from the disease from setting in.

  • Some exercises diabetics could engage in include walking, lifting weights, swimming and water aerobics or yoga.

  • Due to the nerve and circulatory damage that diabetes can cause, any exercise that will improve circulation and balance is helpful.

  • Be sure you talk with your doctor about what you can and cannot do before you get started.

Getting physically fit and improving your health are great goals to set for yourself. Choosing the right workout routine for your lifestyle and personality is one of the best ways of ensuring that you’ll follow a program that you enjoy and will keep up with.

Take a few minutes to think about what you’d like to do and what you have time to do and then look for a program that you can fit into your life, instead of trying to rearrange your life to fit your workout routine. Soon you’ll find yourself feeling better and stronger and enjoying a much healthier life.

For more information, visit Careworks.

Author:  Michelle Holincheck, FNP

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