Enjoy Exercising with 4 Simple Changes

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If you are like the majority of people, the mere thought of exercising is enough to have your mind make up all kinds of reasons why you should not, could not, and perhaps will not exercise. However, once you begin to exercise on a regular basis, you will be amazed at how exercise can transform the way you look, feel and think. The key is to make exercise fun and something that you look forward to doing.

Here are a few ideas to help you create a fitness routine that is interesting and enjoyable, so you can make it a lasting part of your life.

 

Find a Workout Partner

Often times we may view exercise regimens as solitary confinement – like a sentence we have to endure all on our own. Guaranteed you have a pal or co-worker who feels exactly the same way. The old adage that misery loves company would apply in this situation. However, once you get together with a friend to exercise and actually go to the gym or take that power walk or a Zumba class, you will begin to see how much fun it really is and begin to enjoy exercising.

Change Your Perception of Exercise

Only you have the ability to change how you perceive something. Only when you have associated positive thoughts and feelings with exercise will you begin to override the negative connotations with exercising. You will find that excuses, such as being tired or not having enough time, will be outweighed by feelings of accomplishment, such as recognition that you burned 500 calories that night or even the simple fact that you feel energized and were glad you went.

Focus on the positive results and feelings you get the first time you go to exercise and bring that feeling back up to the forefront of your mind the next time you are heading out to exercise.

Spice It Up!

Be creative with your exercise routines and regimens. You do not have to think about gigantic machinery that you are unfamiliar with or a gym full of strangers. Find something you love to do and incorporate that into exercise. For some, that is walking briskly and for others it is dancing your heart out. Dance is not only a creative outlet, it is also one that will burn hundreds of calories. Even if you are not a professional dancer, taking a swing class or a jazz class is only the beginning to discovering one of the secrets to enjoying exercise.

Make It a Date

If you leave exercising to a chance date or time, you will more than likely set yourself up for failure. Make a specific date and time for exercise, whether you go out to the gym or do it at home. Write in on your calendar, put it on your to do list and commit to it. After you are done, you will be glad you did.

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3 Fitness Tips for Getting Your Kids Off the Couch

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Our world today revolves around the latest technology in the form of smartphones, tablets, and video game systems. Big name companies compete to bring us the latest and greatest technology and it not only has an affect on adults, but children as well.

Children today are growing up in a completely different world than it was 20 years ago. There are first graders with cell phones, teens who would rather text than talk, and video games with such lifelike graphics it’s scary. The lure of these video games is especially strong in children and teens and brings with it the problem of little or no outside activity in this age group. As parents, it’s important to know how to get your children involved in something other than staring at a TV screen or holding a game controller all day long.

Be the example – Parents can set an excellent example for their children if they are active in their daily routine. If your child sees you exercising or spending more time outside than in front of the television, they will most likely follow your example as they grow older. It may take a little bit of nudging to get them to put the cell phone down, but it will happen. Likewise, if you are a couch potato, or have your nose stuck in the computer all day, they will be more apt to follow in your footsteps. Be the person that you would want your child to be. If you keep that in mind, it won’t be hard to set good habits in motion for the whole family.

Create a routine – A daily routine can help your child get rid of bad habits and instill some discipline in the whole family. Talk to your child about getting on a schedule and let them be involved in creating a routine that works for all of you. Limit the amount of time your child is in front of the television, on the Internet, or on his/her cell phone and stick to it. Make a trip to the park or a walk outside part of your daily routine. If it’s too cold outside, play a game of tag or hide and seek just to get yourself and your child moving. Small daily steps can help to break some bad habits and lead you into a new way of life.

Find activities your child will enjoy – This can be anything from organized sports at school to a daily trip to the local gym. Talk to your child about getting involved in school activities that will keep them moving. If he/she isn’t much of a sports fanatic, there are a ton of other ways to keep them active. Going on a family hike, swimming, or simply blasting some music and dancing around the living room are some fun ways to keep in shape and have fun while doing it.

It may take some time to establish a routine that works for you and your family, but don’t give up. Make small changes on a daily basis to get your child used to any form of daily activity. Pretty soon, a trip to the park or playing ball outside will be the new normal instead of coming home to play video games or surf the Internet. Making small daily changes not only forms better habits in your child, but in your whole family.

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Beat the Winter Blues with Family-Friendly Indoor Fitness Activities

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During those freezing cold winter months when you aren’t able to get outside and it’s hard to muster up the motivation to get out and hit the gym, it can seem nearly impossible to get any exercise in. Activity levels fall to one step above couch potato and we often wonder where the excess weight is coming from. However, not all is lost. You do still have a chance to maintain some form of an exercise routine even when the snow is falling and temps are ridiculously low.

Get moving with video games – this is not a suggestion to sit on the couch and stare at the television all day with a controller in your hand. Systems such as the Wii offer games where you can be up and moving while you are playing. Bowling, tennis, Wii Fit, and Wii Sports are a few games that will not only get your whole family laughing, but also keep everyone active while the snow blows outside.

Create an indoor obstacle course – use your furniture and everyday items around the house to create a fun, unique obstacle course that you all can enjoy. Make it an event the whole family gets involved in, and time how long it takes each person to complete it. The winner gets a prize or gets to choose how the next course will be set up.   Use your imagination and be as creative as you want.

Crank up the music – This may be the one and only time that you don’t yell at the kids to turn the music down. Blast some tunes as loud as you want and make room for a dance floor in the living room. Your whole family will enjoy showing off their moves and will get a workout while they are at it. Step it up a level and have each person create their own unique dance that they perform in front of the whole family.

Indoor bowling competition – turn a hallway into a bowling alley with a few simple steps. Empty soda or water bottles make great pins, and any ball will do. Keep score and see who is the bowling champion. This type of bowling is cheaper AND you don’t have to wear those awful bowling shoes while you play.

Scavenger hunt craziness – This is a perfect indoor activity to keep the kids busy, and it’s a great way to be creative and keep the imaginative juices flowing. Hide a variety of items all through the house and leave clues that the kids have to follow to find them. Whoever finds all items gets to choose a prize or decide what the family will watch on television that night.

Just because it’s cold and nasty outside doesn’t mean you have to give up all forms of exercise. There are many creative ways to stay active indoors and make memorable moments with your family as well. It’s one way to get your family looking forward to those cold, winter days rather than dreading them.

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5 Fitness Motivators

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You need to exercise. You want to exercise. You lack motivation. It’s hard to do something if you aren’t excited about it. Exercise doesn’t have to be drudgery. It can be fun, exciting and rewarding. By exercising regularly and watching your diet, you will improve your health and your appearance. Improved health and appearance can also improve your self-image and self-esteem. If you are experiencing a lack of motivation, there are things you can do to get up and get going.

Change your mind about exercise. Some people view exercise as a chore, something that must be done to maintain health and lose weight. Stop thinking about exercise as a job and think of it as a fun activity that takes you away from the drudgery of your every day routine. Your attitude will help determine your level of success in nearly every endeavor. You have to expect to have fun if you are to truly enjoy your workout. Try a brisk 25-minute walk during your lunch hour instead of thirty boring minutes on the treadmill after work. Getting out of the office for a brisk walk can help clear your mind as you exercise your body. You will return to work feeling energized and more motivated. Reward yourself with a facial after work. Associate positive benefits with your workout to create a positive attitude about working out.

Learn to visualize your success. If you need to lose 10 pounds, visualize yourself 10 pounds lighter and wearing that dress or those pants that have been hanging in your closet for months because you can’t close the zipper. Visualize yourself on the beach for your next vacation showing off your new 6-pack. See yourself successful and you will become successful.

Find a friend to exercise with you. A workout pal can be just the motivation you need to keep going. You and your exercise mate can motivate each other to push yourselves to succeed. Make it a weekly or every-other-day date to exercise together. Exercising with a friend helps to pass the time as well as keeping you motivated. Enjoy a light snack together after your workout. You will soon find that you look forward to your workout dates with your exercise pal.

Involve family members in your exercise program. Instead of sitting on the sidelines watching your kids play soccer or baseball, load the bikes up and go for a ride in the park followed by a light lunch under a shade tree. Your children will enjoy the time spent with you, and you will enjoy time with your kids as you lose weight and get healthy. Saturday mornings can be spent playing games with the whole family. Whether you play badminton in the back yard or basketball in the driveway, the whole family is sure to have fun and get a great workout, too.

Workout when you feel sad or blue. Have you noticed that when you work out you feel better afterward? Exercise stimulates your brain to release hormones called endorphins, which are responsible for the sense of well-being that you feel when you finish a vigorous workout. Exercise when you are feeling a little down by going for a long walk, riding a bike, or hitting the treadmill. Stimulating your brain to produce endorphins can help you feel happier and help you lose weight as you get healthier.

So, get moving next time you are down in the dumps. You will actually be able to turn something negative into something positive.

Beachbody

5 Ways to Find More Time to Exercise

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When it comes to exercise, we all have good intentions. First, we make a decision to exercise, next we announce it to the world, and finally, we decide to go all out and purchase new equipment, clothing, or even a gym membership. Then something happens, or rather does not happen. We cannot seem to find the time or the desire to finish what we wholeheartedly started.

Whenever we incorporate something new into our life, whether it is diet or exercise, we must first realize that it is, in fact, new. We must incorporate a new habit into our lives on a daily basis. And, therein lies the problem. We are so stuck in our patterns that we do not even begin to know how to add something else onto our to-do list.

1. Put It in Writing – Put the word exercise or Zumba or power walk on your calendar in bright red ink. Pick a date and time every week and put it everywhere from a cell phone reminder to an email to yourself. Putting things in writing seems to have a commitment to accomplish that task attached to it.

2. Review and Replace – Rather than trying to cram one more thing into an already hectic schedule, examine that schedule and see what you can delete and replace with your new-found love of exercise. Perhaps an hour of Facebook time or game playing on the computer can be deleted and exercise put in its place. Do these things only on the weekends and free up some time for exercise during the week.

3. Take a Good Look at Your Schedule – Perhaps you could go to bed 30 minutes earlier, three times per week and get up 30 minutes earlier three times per week. Not only will you see that this minor shift will give you the extra time in the morning, but it will change the entire outlook of your day.

4. Give Something Up – Often times when we want to achieve a new goal we fall short because we are not willing to give something up. We want to add this new goal to an already packed calendar. Perhaps, giving up Happy Hour every other Friday or giving up sleeping late two Saturdays per month will do the trick.

5. Lunch Hour – Take a good long hard look at your lunch hour. Is there any way that you could take 30 minutes for a brisk walk and then the other 30 for actual eating? The phone calls you were going to make or emails you were going to send will be there waiting for you tomorrow.

Whether you realize it or not, finding more time to exercise is not simply a matter of time, it is a matter of practice, thinking, and creating as well. When you have the incentive, you will find the time.

Beachbody

4 Healthy Holiday Fitness Tips

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The holiday season can wreak havoc on your waistline, but the average holiday weight gain isn’t quite as bad as you think. Many believe that 7 pounds is the average holiday weight gain, but according to the National Institutes of Health report, Americans put on roughly one pound over the holidays. However, even a pound a year can add up over time and lead to obesity and other chronic illnesses, such as diabetes and heart disease. Making exercise a priority during the hectic and stressful holiday season can seem virtually impossible, but with a little forethought, you can reap the benefits of a fit, healthy holiday season.

Tip #1 – Plan realistic workouts and healthy meals BEFORE the holidays begin. Cooking make-ahead nutritious meals and designing shorter, daily workouts will help to save time, reduce stress and promote well-being. Even a 10-minute workout is better than not exercising at all.

Tip #2 – Incorporate high-intensity interval training (HIIT) into your exercise routine. HIIT training can be a godsend over the holidays, because it burns maximum calories in the least amount of time. So, next time you get on the treadmill, bike or step machine, choose the interval program option to burn more fat in less time. If you don’t have access to a gym, then pick up a jump rope and alternate bursts of quick activity with a slower pace, or do some jumping jacks or speed play (e.g. 30 second sprint followed by a 90 second recovery jog).

Tip #3 – Do some multitasking; combine holiday tasks and errands with physical activities. For instance, walk fast while shopping or park farther away from the mall entrance, or try taking a 5-minute break from cooking and do some calisthenics to burn those excess calories and reduce stress. Shoveling your own snow can burn a ton of calories, too. When family or friends come to town, take a tour of the neighborhood on foot to see the Christmas lights, or throw an ice-skating party. During TV commercial breaks, do some lunges, jumping jacks, squats, pushups and sit-ups.

Tip #4 – Avoid overeating at holiday parties by eating normally during the day. In other words, don’t starve yourself all day and then eat like a horse at the party. Eat as you normally would during the day, then go to the holiday party and focus on eating low-calorie foods first, such as celery sticks, carrots, fruits and leans meats. Put your snacks on a small plate and then sit down to enjoy it; don’t snack straight from the buffet. After you consume the healthier, fiber-rich, low-calorie foods, then by all means treat yourself to a small, rich and satisfying treat. Chew slowly and enjoy every morsel of it. Occasionally indulging in a tasty treat, without guilt, will help you to avoid overeating. If you do overeat, don’t let the guilt from one mistake destroy the rest of your healthy holiday plans.

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How Intensely Should You Work Out?

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You probably know that you need to exercise on a regular basis, but maybe you aren’t really sure how hard you need to push yourself to achieve optimal results. Your workout intensity mainly depends on your current fitness level; what’s good for one person may be too difficult for someone else. You need to monitor your heart and your body to decide which level works best for you.

Exercise intensity is different for each person, so what seems like a really hard exercise routine to one person may feel fairly easy to someone in better physical condition. It’s important to pay close attention to how you feel while working out to determine the most appropriate intensity level. When you exercise at a moderate intensity, it should quicken your breathing but not leave you gasping for air. Even at a moderately intense level, you should still be able to carry on a conversation. If you can sing, you are not working hard enough. You should also expect a light sweat after exercising for about 10 to 15 minutes. Exercising at a vigorous intensity, however, should produce sweat within 5 minutes and expect your breathing to feel deep and rapid. You won’t be able to say more than a few words at a time at this level.

To get the best health benefits from exercise, it is generally recommended that adults engage in moderately intense exercise for roughly 150 minutes per week or a minimum of 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise. You may want to break up your exercise routine into 30 minute sessions, 5 days a week to make it easier to stick with your routine, especially if you’re short on time. Alternating between hard-easy workout days is also a good idea to allow your muscles to recover and rebuild. You may increase the amount of exercise when you feel ready to do so. The suggestions above signify the least amount of exercise needed to experience positive health benefits.

Next, you need to figure out your target heart rate to more accurately measure your exercise intensity. Start by subtracting your current age from 220 to find your maximum heart rate. This number basically tells you what your heart can safely handle during exercise. Your target heart rate should stay between about 50 to 70 percent of your heart’s maximum rate for moderately- intense exercise. For more vigorous activity, however, you should aim for a heart rate of 70 to 85 percent of the maximum. Once you have determined your target heart rate, you should measure your pulse during your workout to keep track of your heart rate.

If you’re just starting an exercise routine, remember to begin slowly and gradually work your way up to more intense exercise as your fitness level improves. You can start with swimming or brisk walking, then slowly build up to more vigorous exercise routines, such as aerobics or running. Also, don’t go beyond what your body can handle by pushing yourself too hard, too soon, which can lead to injury, burnout and other health issues. Listen to your body and stop exercising immediately if you’re in pain.

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