Let’s stand up and take some action!
By Deb Dittner
— Gloria Estefan (1989, from the album “Cuts Both Ways”)
I love these words and rhythm from the song by Gloria Estefan!
Only you can make it happen to physically move, be active, play and exercise.
Get on your feet and dance. Sure, there are some days when it’s bitter cold out and you don’t want to get out from under the warm covers.
I get it. But I also know how much better I do feel once I have taken action by going to my favorite gym for an hour class of cardio, high-intensity interval training, strengthening, yoga — you name it.
For me, this is an important part of my health and wellness and it can — and should — be for you too.
By taking those first steps, you can look toward your next class with more energy, motivation, and confidence.
So why do you need to get off the couch, stand up and move?
Your overall health counts on it. Living a sedentary lifestyle ages you more quickly, decreases mobility, and increases your risk for many health conditions.
You can prevent so many health problems through consistent daily action.
Need help in getting off the couch?
Here are some tips to help motivate you on your journey:
— Think of this time as self-care or ”me time.”
You need to look at exercise as an important lifestyle change necessary in taking care of you in the best way possible.
— Set an achievable goal and be realistic. A fitness assessment can help determine your goals after examining the results. Speak with your health care provider or physical therapist to point you in the direction of a good assessment tool, and follow through with the results and necessary changes.
— Set specific milestones along the way toward your goal. By taking steps in increments, it makes the task more manageable and motivational.
— Lifestyle changes are necessary along with exercise. When attending birthday parties, holiday meals, or a family night out, don’t deprive yourself but do take responsibility for your actions. Being held accountable by a friend or family member will help you to attain your goals.
— Create a doable plan and workout schedule. If you go to a gym, set your schedule weekly or monthly and make sure it’s in your planner. If you work out at home, set a specific time of day and stick to it.
— Patience is a virtue, so they say, and this is an excellent time to be patient with yourself and your goals. Nothing happens overnight and it does take work, especially if you’re starting out from scratch. It takes approximately three months to develop a habit, so take one day at a time and don’t give up.
— You need a cheerleader. Whether it be a family member or dear friend to support your efforts, it is necessary in achieving your goals. Ideally, encourage a family member or friend to join in your efforts and train with you. Working out with others gives you that added push, and it’s always more fun.
A group setting will also decrease stress levels, and increases improvements in your mental, physical and emotional quality of life.
If a gym membership is too costly, there is low-cost fitness. This consists of videos, apps, and wearable computers.
For seniors, exercise is anti-aging. Exercise will help lubricate joints, increase mobility, and decrease overall inflammation.
— Stay focused on the goal. Surround yourself with fitness by reading fitness blogs and magazines. Keep company with like-minded fitness friends who are supportive.
— Create a vision board. Cut out pictures of a special outfit you’d like to see yourself in or a location to where you want to travel.
— Have fun! Exercise should not be pure drudgery. If you enjoy dancing, take salsa lessons.
If you enjoy team sports, join a basketball, ice hockey or soccer team. There are many age groups to choose from.
Once you begin to look and feel better, have more energy, and begin to see changes in your body, you will know you are gaining improved health for a better tomorrow.
So, without further ado, get on your feet!
• Deborah Dittner is a family nurse practitioner and health consultant. Her mission is to transform as many individuals as possible through nutrition and lifestyle changes. For more information, check out her website at www.debdittner.com or contact her at 518-596-8565.