3 Keys to Make Exercise A Lifestyle

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OK, here’s the warning! Always check with your physician before beginning any exercise program.

I was very careful in the title to indicate exercise should be a lifestyle. Starting exercise regiments based on a new year’s resolution or even jumping into hours of training for a specific event often leads to spurts of great effort, followed by long sedentary off-seasons. The only way to truly increase your physical strength and flexibility as well as improving overall cardiovascular health is to make exercise a lifestyle.

Proper exercise has officially become a discipline that we now need to schedule into our daily lives. When we were primarily an agriculture-based society, exercise came naturally in the course of hard work on the farm. Now that more jobs are becoming serviced based, too many of us find ourselves lost in the dreaded cube farm staring at a computer screen 10 hours a day. If this describes your average day remember, your body was created to move and not sit at work all day followed by an evening on the couch watching TV. It’s time for you to make exercise a lifestyle!

If you are just starting out pick a level of exercise that is appropriate for you right now and that will also build a base for a more active tomorrow. For example, I have a friend who decided to lose weight and start exercising. So, all he did was remove bread from his diet and on day one walked around his block. On the next day, he walked around two blocks and the next three and so on. Before he knew it, he had lost 20 pounds simple by eliminating bread and starting a daily walking routine.

Keys to Get Moving

  1. Create a Workout Schedule. Pick the cadence for your weekly workout (every day, every other day, etc.). Whatever it is, schedule it like you would your meals. Lay out a realistic schedule that you can stick to and then be very protective of this time. Schedule your weekly workout plan on your calendar or map it out on your whiteboard, but have it charted somewhere so you can check off each workout and track your progress. Mapping out and tracking your workout schedule will dramatically increase your success rate! You can also build in a make-up day. For example, if your schedule calls for Monday through Friday workouts, keep Saturday open as your make-up day in case you are forced to miss one of your week-day workouts.
  2. Chose a Workout Place. For me, it’s my basement. Five days a week I am in the basement at 5:40 AM working out. I keep telling myself I am going to invest some time to upgrade the space to look like a proper gym but I am not waiting for that project to complete before I get moving. For you perhaps it is a gym, the track at your local school or simply the streets of your neighborhood. Wherever it is, make sure it is accessible to you when you need it. Also, if your preferred workout location is outside, have a go-to fallback in case of bad weather. Don’t allow the elements to dictate your exercise lifestyle.
  3. Have a Workout Plan. Decide in advance what your daily workout is going to be. I purchased a couple of 30-minute workout plans (one weight lifting and one cardio) that I alternate between every other day. They are my virtual coaches that guide me daily through my workout, pushing me beyond what I would do on my own. The plans also take me through a series of workouts day after day eliminating time wasted each morning trying to decide what workout to do. Whatever your approach is, make sure you have a sustainable plan before you get started.

What changes will you choose to make that will become building blocks for your future health and wellbeing? If you are not exercising today, start slow but never stop. Make exercise a lifestyle!

Resources

Here are links to related resources you might find useful. If you find your life is out of balance, take action today to change that about yourself. I heard it once said, the time is going to pass whether or not you act. Wouldn’t you rather spend that time becoming the person you aspire to be?

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Healthy People: The 3 Things They Do

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For me, a healthy person is by definition a well-balanced individual. “Healthy” comes in a lot of flavors including physical well-being, mental soundness, the strength of one’s relationships, and the list goes on. For the sake of this example, let’s focus on physical health. What are the keys to living a healthy physical lifestyle? Why do some people appear to achieve this state with relative ease while others yo-yo between food fads, diets, and the latest workout craze but with no lasting results? Here is the answer in three not so easy steps!

They make healthy living a core value. Bottom line, healthy individuals tend to define what their core values are and healthy living makes the short list. They may not have a written list of core values (which I highly recommend) but they live by them just the same. As you age, you will not naturally fall into a healthy physical lifestyle. The fact is, it will come through careful planning and a core value that is set to some extent on defying the natural aging process. Planning for physical health must by default include a solid definition of the core attributes that define you. Once you incorporate living a healthy lifestyle into your core values, you will be on your way to realizing success.   

They have habits. I heard someone say that people do not fail for lack of goals, they fail due to lack of systems. This is why new year’s resolutions, like joining the local gym, are a complete waste of time. Setting goals without the necessary systems and routines required to support them are actually harmful as it tends to reinforce a track record of experienced failure. Living a healthy lifestyle requires systems that turn into routines that lead to habits (systems > routines > habits). You don’t argue with yourself about brushing your teeth each morning. This is because you have transitioned from learning the system of how to brush, then when to brush, to finally making it a lifelong habit. Once a healthy lifestyle becomes habitual, you will be successful in this area for the long term.

They have a vision. A wise biblical sage once said something to the effect that without vision, people perish. Vision (the ability to think about or plan the future with imagination or wisdom) provides the underlying energy your core values and habits will need in order to succeed. Can you clearly imagine the healthy lifestyle you will be enjoying 5 to 10 years from now? If so, you have an initial vision. Can you apply wisdom to your imagination and envision why you need to be healthy 10-15 years from now? If so, you have a mature vision. This skill is absolutely necessary for long term success and has the potential to fuel a healthy physical lifestyle for years to come.

Vision for a healthy lifestyle
Vision for a healthy lifestyle

At the end of the day, people living healthy lifestyles have characteristics that brought them to this well-balanced place in life. Whenever I read about someone who has achieved health in an area of life, I look carefully for signs of the underlying principles that have contributed to their success. They may not specifically be the ones listed above, but if you look hard enough, they will always be there in one form or another.

So, what healthy, well-balanced goals do you have for life and do they align with your core values? If not, find ones that do then seek out systems that lead to routines which turn into habits. Finally, energize your habits with your life’s vision. If you consistently apply these principles, there will be no stopping you.

Resources

Here are links to related resources you might find useful. If you find your life is out of balance, take action today to change that about yourself. I heard it once said, the time is going to pass whether or not you act. Wouldn’t you rather spend that time becoming the person you aspire to be?

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