It’s been a long and difficult winter but spring is here! If ever there was a time for new beginnings, this is the year and now is the time!
Our mantra here is that weight loss is a process and a lifestyle change. What better time than now, after a year of confinement, to initiate that change by getting outside and hitting the reset button? Activity and exercise are critical not only to weight loss, but to physical and mental wellbeing.
It’s important to remember that activity can take many forms. Finding activities that are enjoyable and adaptable is the key to making a change you can stick with, so don’t spend hundreds on a health club membership unless it provides options or classes that really appeal to you.
As with weight loss itself, many people are discouraged by the idea of exercise because they think about it as a major, daily commitment. That’s fine if you’re into it, but for most it’s better to start slowly. Find something you’re comfortable doing as a first step – and steps are a perfect start! Being outside is a natural stress-reducer because it lowers cortisol, a stress hormone. So, walk around your neighborhood and see what’s in bloom. If you’re lucky enough to live near the beach, you have a view that can’t be beat! Or, pick a destination, like a nearby park, so you have a defined start and end point, with a place to rest in between. Around 20 minutes a day, or 40 minutes every other day meets recommended guidelines, but if that still sounds intimidating, a short 10-minute walk before each meal will do the trick.
Swimming is another low-impact activity that doesn’t add pressure to bones or joints. It stretches muscles to improve range of motion and increases balance and core strength. Many classes that would be too difficult in a gym can be much more manageable in water. It may be too cold to swim right now in certain parts of the country, but it’s never too early to see what options your local community offers and to mark them on your calendar.
If being outdoors isn’t your thing, YouTube has videos on just about any type of activity you can imagine. In addition to yoga or more traditional activities, things like dancing, stretching, lawn mowing and climbing stairs also count! Exercising with a friend can make the time go faster, as can listening to music, an audiobook or a podcast. Or, maybe your exercise time can be your “me time” to clear your mind and regroup. The options are unlimited!
It’s not so much about what you decide to do, but that you make the decision and follow through on doing it. Every step, stroke or stretch brings you closer to your weight loss goals, reduces health risks and contributes to your mental wellbeing. Let today be the day!