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Resolve to Exercise in 2012

Feeling guilty about all those Christmas goodies you devoured? Here's how to battle the bulge this upcoming year.

By Eric Schmalzried, exercise physiologist and personal trainer
Wilfred R. Cameron Wellness Center
www.wrcameronwellness.org

It’s that time of year again! New Year’s is the perfect time to set positive exercise goals for yourself. These tips can help you stick to your resolutions all year long.

1. Set SMART goals. Use the acronym SMART to assist you in setting goals. SMART reminds you to make your goals:

  • Specific—clearly define the goal
  • Measurable—use concrete criteria, such as a number, so you can monitor your progress
  • Action-based —include an activity; focus on what you will actually be doing
  • Realistic—make the goal relevant to you and firmly based in the reality of what you can accomplish
  • Time-anchored—link the goal with a specific time frame

2. For best results, meet the minimum recommendations for exercise. The American College of Sports Medicine has set the following guidelines for exercise:

  • Aerobic exercise should be performed at least three to five times per week. If you are exercising only three days per week, you should exercise vigorously for at least 25 minutes. If you are exercising five days per week, you should exercise at a moderate intensity for at least 30 minutes. You can also use a combination of vigorous- and moderate-intensity exercise
  • Resistance training should be performed at least two to three times per week. Select an exercise for every major muscle group in the body, and perform at least one set of each exercise.
  • Stretching exercises should be performed at least two to three times per week. Ten minutes is typically a sufficient time to stretch all the major muscle groups in the body.

3. Use available time to exercise. Do you feel like you have no time during the day to fit in exercise? Think again! Research shows that exercising for as little as 10 minutes in multiple bouts throughout the day provides many of the same benefits as exercising continuously for a longer duration. If you have a
short break at work, use the time to walk up and down the stairs or around the halls.

4. Try something new. If you are so bored with performing the same routine that you dread exercise, it’s time to mix it up. Exercise should be fun and invigorating, not dull. The New Year is an excellent opportunity to try a new class or type of exercise. If you are a frequent attendee of aerobics classes, try yoga or Pilates; if you are a runner, try swimming. There are so many different options available that you should never be bored!

5. Find an exercise partner. A good workout buddy will help you to stay focused on days when your own motivation is lacking. Try to pick someone who is close to your ability level and has similar goals. Keep in mind that your best friend is not necessarily your best exercise partner. Be sure to select someone who is willing to push you and be pushed in return.

6. Get professional advice. Whether you are just starting an exercise routine or are looking to challenge yourself, a fitness professional can help. With their extensive education and background, the fitness team members at the Wellness Center have something to offer everyone. Utilize the resources available to you by talking to a fitness professional today!

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