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Exercise often feels intimidating when you are focused on setting aside 30-45 minutes of hard physical work. Although it’s important to get your heart rate up a few times a week, you don’t have to complete a daily exercise routine to reap a variety of benefits. Research shows that even just 10 minutes of added physical activity will release endorphins, increase confidence and improve your ability to cope with stressors.
Broaden your routine to include new avenues of physical activity in your day. Whereas exercise focuses on strengthening and improving fitness, physical activity is anything that works your muscles and requires energy. Exercise is important, don't get us wrong, but we focus on improving your overall wellness which goes beyond simply toning muscles.
how to get started
The best way to get started is to step back and think about what you enjoy doing. Maybe you have dogs you like taking out. Take them for a extra ten minute walk. If you like outdoor gardening, spend a little more time plucking out weeds. Play a sport with your kids. The key is to make things a priority in your day to day life. If you build habits you enjoy, they'll be easier to maintain.
One straightforward way to encourage more movement is by investing in tools that make it accessible in your routine. A standing desk, balance board or yoga ball are workplace examples of things that enhance your physical fitness without taking much time. Not only do these improve muscle tone, they also make it easier to focus and eliminate many negative health risks associated with desk work. These are particularly helpful if you struggle with chronic neck pain, headaches, or other desk related complaints.
It's important to make your goals attainable. Setting an unrealistic standard for yourself will make fitness something you associate with failure and guilt. Once that happens, it’s virtually impossible to get up off the couch and go outside. Try penciling in time for an activity. Treat it the same way you would a counseling appointment - a commitment to improve wellness and your overall quality of life. Commitments to self care should be the last thing in your schedule that you're willing to sacrifice.
Take a few moments to think about the main barriers standing between you and a more active lifestyle. If you feel self conscious then start small and do some things at home. If you've tried to be more active but fall off the bandwagon, then ask a friend or your spouse to meet your new goals with you. There are many fitness options that are both accessible and free so pick things that sound fun and set a weekly goal.
Setbacks are bound to arise with any lifestyle change but even small steps forward are a victory. Celebrate your victories, brush off the failures, and always remember that your wellness is a worthwhile investment. If you make yourself a priority, you'll be a happier person, better employee and more attentive spouse, friend or parent.