Isn't it strange the way we know something is really good for us, but we avoid it, even to the point of hurting ourselves? For intelligent humans who can get a man to the moon and build empires, we can sure be obstinate and blind about taking care of our bodies, often at the risk of our health and longevity. It seems counter-intuitive, but many people live very sedentary lifestyles.
How about you? Are you having trouble kick-starting an active lifestyle?
My friend Anastasiya Goers is a certified fitness and Pilates instructor. On Monday, November 8, she is beginning a virtual retreat called, From A Sedentary To Active Lifestyle In 1 Month. The title really got my attention, because as a blogger, I am in my chair at the computer many hours a day. I don't want to slip from active to sedentary, and it can happen so easily.
Anastasiya was kind enough to answer some questions about why we avoid an active lifestyle and to share some ideas for becoming more active without feeling overwhelmed.
1. Why do you think people resist exercise even though they know it is good for them in so many ways?
When we are young we usually think “I am healthy, I have more important things to do than exercise.” Then we get caught up in the cycle of work-family-TV-sleep and again exercise has no room in our schedules. I can probably think of a hundred reasons why people do not exercise: they do not have time, they are lazy, they do not have energy, they have more important things to do etc.
Today we are especially used to having everything instantly, but developing new habits and seeing results from an exercise program takes time. A lot of people try to exercise but they do not see the immediate result and they give up.
Another reason why people resist exercise is because they cannot balance exercise and their lifestyle. They already have so much on their plate that they simply cannot fit anything else in their schedule.
2. What is the best way to get started with an active lifestyle that doesn't feel overwhelming?
The best way is to start slow. The mistake that a lot of people make when they start an active lifestyle is that they start going to the gym 6 times a week or sign up for some extremely strenuous class. Unfortunately most people cannot stick to this new schedule because their bodies are not used to this amount of activity.
One of the easiest things to start with is walking. You can park further from the entrance, walk around the block during your lunch hour, go for a walk after a romantic dinner with your loved one etc. Then you can start adding 10 minute workouts throughout the day (during the retreat I will post daily workout videos that anyone can do anywhere.) Instead of watching TV in the evening you can go for a walk or play actively with your kids.
An active lifestyle is about making small changes to your current routines that are pleasurable and fun for you.
3. I find in the winter, I have a much harder time exercising because I don't like going out in the cold weather, and I really don't like gyms. Any suggestions?
You can always exercise at home. I know that it is difficult to force yourself to exercise at home (I have my “bad” days too.) The “trick” that I use is exercising only for about 10 minutes at a time. That way I can squeeze in a workout first thing in the morning, before lunch, during a commercial break if I watch TV, or while I cook supper.
It is also important to stay active the rest of the time. You can go to the mall and walk around it as fast as you can. You can go bowling or ice-skating. You can play with your kids at home. There is always a way to be active no matter what the weather is and how much time you have.
4. How do you stay in the active lifestyle habit? It seems like many people get off to a great start, but then peter out after a few months.
I personally always have a goal. A goal can be anything like doing 50 non-stop push-ups, getting in a full split, or training for a 5K. Right now my goal is to get in good shape for the Mud Run next spring (it is a 3K obstacle run.) These goals keep me from getting bored with my routine.
Another great way to stick to an active lifestyle is to have a journal. You write down how great you feel after a workout (and you really do!), and then when you do not feel like exercising you read your entries and get motivated.
I can say that right now I do not have any trouble keeping up my activity level because I truly love everything that I do: running, Pilates, Yoga and family activities. It is really important to find activities that fit your personality and that you truly enjoy.
5. What is the best way to get over that initial period of inertia, the time between thinking about moving and putting on your sneakers?
The best way is to skip the thinking part. If you have a though about moving – do it right away. If you start pondering on how to do it, when to do it, how to dress for it – you will never start doing anything, you will be just wasting your time. How about joining the retreat and starting to move right away?
6. What will people learn in your upcoming retreat?
During the retreat members will learn:
- to find time in their busy schedule for physical activity (I will personally help you work with your schedule);
- how to improve general fitness level and become healthier;
- how to stay active virtually anywhere (workout videos and my tips will help you with that)
- how to set personal fitness goals that they can reach and feel great
- how to improve posture and prevent back pain;
- how to find energy boosts during a long day;
- how to use exercise for relaxation at the end of the day.
If you want to have an active lifestyle, but you are having trouble getting started, I hope you will check out the retreat. Just click the link below for more info.
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