The New Year has just begun, and you’re motivated to start your journey to become healthier and fitter than in the past. As the year goes on, you may encounter some obstacles.
Rather than setting resolutions that make you feel overwhelmed and unattainable, the YMCA of Greater Houston challenges you to set your sights on a healthier plan for yourself. It’s a plan that you’ll stick to throughout the year and, with a little effort, can become a routine. By starting out small and going at your own pace, your plan will help you make the lifestyle changes that are realistic and more likely to be reached.
Here are some examples:
• Do not go on a “diet:” The term “diet” implies something temporary, unsustainable, undesirable, and usually unsuccessful. Instead of trying the newest fad, we recommend a simple alternative: change the way you think about food.
• Drink more. No, we aren’t talking about alcohol. We are talking about water. Taking in your recommended dose of eight glasses a day or more will keep you hydrated throughout the day.
• Exercise Less. Many people, when exercising, tend to over train and get little results. Start small by doing short workouts, concentrating on good, proper form. Allow your body a day or two to recover between workouts and avoid you getting burned out.
• Eat more. No, not fast food, candies and soda. When consuming simple sugars, they digested quickly and stored as fat in your body. Instead, eat more foods that are closest to their natural state, such as fruits and vegetables. Proteins, such as chicken, fish, eggs yogurt and nuts give your body the nutrients needed to gain muscle, lose weight and recover quickly from workouts.
As you continue eating healthy and working out, it is important to be disciplined, but at the same time don’t be so hard on yourself. Get creative with how can exercise, and be patient. Here are some additional tips on physical activity:
• Get outside. Physical activity doesn’t necessarily have to be what is traditionally thought of as “exercise.” Walking, gardening, and other forms of recreation are considered physical activity and are good for your health.
• Know that progress takes time. The three primary elements of a physical activity routine which determines one’s total exercise volume are: frequency (how frequently you engage in physical activity), duration (the duration of physical activity sessions), and intensity (the level of physical exertion). Increase your physical activity level (and caloric expenditure) by steadily increasing one of these components at a time.
• Set realistic fitness goals. Don’t try to overwhelm yourself with physiologically impossible goals. Zero in on a physical activity plan that fits your daily schedule that you can maintain. Dramatically increasing the frequency and duration and intensity of your workouts all at once is not likely to last long; it is much more likely to leave you with aches and pains that prevent you from exercising altogether.