Was your New Years’ resolution to live a healthier lifestyle? Could it be to incorporate exercise in your daily routine? The National Institute on Aging states, “If exercise could be packed into a pill, it would be the single most widely prescribed and beneficial medicine in the nation.” Physical activity is how much we move in our daily activities; sedentary jobs or sitting in the car for several hours is considered “lack of physical activity.” Exercise is something we intentionally do to add more movement into our day. The purpose of exercise is to get your heart rate up, so more calories are burned than just easy movements.
What keeps you from being more active? Take a minute and think about the excuses you make to yourself. I am famous for using the two excuses: I do not have time, and I am tired. However, I know when I do add exercise to my daily routine, I have way more energy than when I do not. So, how do we overcome these excuses? One trick is to look at exercise differently. All movement is considered physical activity. If you do not count something as exercise unless it happens in the gym, goes on for forty minutes, or requires a shower afterward, you are missing some of your best opportunities to stay active.
Another key to success is to find a friend to keep you honest. You can exercise with that friend or just simply check in to report your progress. Create a mind script. For example, we say things, “Skipping out on this walk will not matter all that much.” Next time be prepared with an answer for this excuse. Use images of past successful experiences to remind yourself of how good exercise makes you feel.
Let’s not forget the benefits of exercise. Exercise can strengthen your heart and lungs, gives you energy, helps you sleep better, protects against certain diseases and cancers, helps control blood pressure, helps to improve digestion and elimination, aids to combat feelings of stress, depression, and anxiety and overall enhances our quality of life. Always check with your physician before starting an exercise program and remember to start small and set realistic goals. For more information on general nutrition information contact me, Katie Guedry, or call 225.638.5533.
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture