According to a survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation, only 62% of U.S. residents report to getting an annual physical exam. But, one of the best ways to make sure a fitness program will be safe and effective for an individual is to get a physical before starting a fitness program to make sure the body is functioning properly to handle the stress and demands of exercise. It’s also important to keep an account of blood pressure, cholesterol and vitamin deficiencies before starting a new program.
2) Set a Schedule
The hardest part of doing anything is just showing up. And when you’re balancing a work schedule with raising a family, or school - it’s easy for your workouts to go on the back burner – which is why it’s so important to set a schedule. If it takes 21 days to form a new habit, sticking to a schedule becomes crucial for success. Just make sure you’re realistic with your lifestyle. If the end of the day leaves you feeling too drained to workout, try to squeeze in early morning or midday workouts. The key is to find time that’s convenient for you.
3) Purge Your Pantry
If your goal for spring is to get into shape or improve your lifestyle, cabinets packed with over-processed, extra sugary and salty treats stand as nothing but a barrier. If you’re a true foodie or a hard-core snacker, this can be difficult. But embrace the difficult choices knowing that junk food only holds your health hostage. Go ahead and pull the trash can up to the pantry and purge. Not only is it the first step to encouraging healthier eating at home, but you’ll also end up with a cleaner, more organized pantry. Winning.
4) Hit the Farmers Market
Now with a lighter (maybe even bare) pantry, its time to fill it with the good stuff. Many foods found around the grocery store are highly processed and grown using hormones, genetic modification and pesticides. Food methods like these have a negative effect on human health, while most foods at farmers markets are minimally processed. Plus, shopping at farmers markets allows you to know where your food comes from. Soak up a little spring sunshine and talk to the farmers and artisans to learn more about how and where your food is produced.
5) Get Outside
Sometimes routines get dull. And when spring brings its longer days and warmer temperatures, the idea of lounging is definitely more appealing than hitting the gym. Break up your routine with outdoor activity like tennis, hiking or swimming. A change in routine can help fight boredom and burnout. Plus, the unpredictability of nature’s elements, along with varied terrain can help you blast more calories. And, when you’re exercising outdoors, you’ll be surprised at how fast time travels.
6) Kick Up Your Playlist
A killer playlist will not only keep you moving and grooving, but it can also help fight boredom. Music distracts people from pain and fatigue, elevates mood, increases endurance, reduces perceived effort and may even promote metabolic efficiency. When listening to music, people run further, bike longer and swim faster than usual – often without realizing it. In a review of research by Costas Karageorghis of Brunel University in London, one of the world’s leading experts on the psychology of exercise music, wrote that one could think of music as a “type of legal performance-enhancing drug.” So grab those headphones and get moving.
7) Participate in a Race
Participating in a race can help you improve your health and boost your fitness. First, it creates a commitment, and that commitment is attached to a physical goal. And positive goals will give a purpose to your training other than just losing weight, or getting beach body ready. In addition, walking or running in a race can also help you build a social circle of like minded individuals that can help keep you accountable and on track.
8) Stretch It Out
Compared to heart thumping movement, stretching may seem overrated. But, it has numerous benefits from helping to improve your joint range of motion, improving your athletic performance and decreasing your risk of injury. Stretching relaxes muscles and increases blood flow and nutrients to your cartilage and muscles. Plus, increasing flexibility helps to improve posture, increases stamina and improve energy levels. Just be sure to keep pre-workout stretches very light, and never push past your physical limit to avoid injury.
9) Think Positive
People who have a positive attitude about a new behavior, like exercising, are far more likely to stick with it than those who look at a new habit in a negative light. The psychological model the Theory of Planned Behavior dictates that having a good attitude about something and believing you can do it will have a positive impact on sustaining behavioral change, such as adopting a new fitness regimen. So, practice positive self talk and use positive affirmations to think your way fit. Fake it till you make it, right?
10) Reward Yourself
Maintaining healthy habits can be a challenge, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t reward yourself for a job well done. Did you create a workout schedule and stick to it? Did you sign up for a race and see it through? Reward yourself! Not only can achieving goals be satisfying, but rewarding yourself afterwards can help reinforce new habits and inspire you to continue. So give yourself permission to take a nap, take a selfie or just take a day to unwind. You deserve it.