Some see it as a place of torture where they are embarrassed to sweat alongside others.
If you are intimidated by going to a gym, don’t give up. There are many options for healthy exercise. Scott & White wellness specialist, Alexander Hainzinger tells us some ways we can get moving, with a gym or not.
Roadblocks to Exercise
“Exercise is important because it benefits every part of your body,” says Hainzinger. He points out a number of benefits of exercise.
- Help improve your mood
- Control your weight
- Combat/ lower risk of certain health conditions such as blood pressure, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and stroke
- Even increase your self-esteem, lose weight, and increase energy levels.
- Exercise can improve your life as a whole.
Even if we’ve heard these reasons a number of times, we can still fall short. We may tell ourselves, “I don’t have the time,” or “I don’t have the money,” or even “I just don’t like to exercise.”
Exercising at Home
If you’d like to avoid the gym and still stay fit, try exercising at home. The four key components of a good exercise plan include strength training, cardiovascular training, flexibility training, and balance training. Whatever program you choose to do at home, a mix of those four components will keep you healthy.
How Can I Avoid Distractions?
One major obstacle for exercising at home is avoiding distractions.
“Decide beforehand how you will deal with interruptions and distractions at home,” says Hainzinger. “This will take discipline and planning ahead on your part.”
He suggests deciding on a specific time of day to exercise, penciling it in and taking time for it. It can also be helpful to let family members know in advance when you plan to exercise, so they can be respectful.
What Exercises Can I Do?
If you’re exercising at home Hainzinger recommends a few pieces of exercise equipment for in-home training:
- Some resistance bands (different resistance strengths)
- A pair of dumbbells (to start, 5 – 8 lbs. for women and 10-20 lbs. for men)
- A stability ball and medicine ball
- Exercise mat
- Jump rope
All these items are inexpensive and can be purchased at a local sporting goods store. To start, take a 10-15 minute walk or jog around the block or jump rope to get your heart-rate up. Using this equipment, you can do some basic squats, lunges, dips, shoulder presses, back rows, push-ups mountain climbers, and core exercises like planks and bicycle crunches.
If you prefer to exercise outdoors, most communities offer multiple options when it comes to workout out areas.
“Most communities have beautiful walking trails that provide mileage maps to help track distance and great scenery,” says Hainzinger.
Don’t forget about a local school track for running or cardio. It is great to run on a track because the polyurethane track helps absorb the impact on our feet during running. The school may also have some bleachers that you can run up and down.
Keys to Keep You Moving
If you’re looking to get started with exercise, consider these seven tips:
- Start slow—Go at your own pace and increase intensity when your workout starts to become easier.
- Set goals— Set realistic goals that you can achieve. You should have both short term and long term goals. For example, a short term goal could be to workout at least three days this week. Long term goal is to lose 20 pounds in 5 months.
- Get a buddy—Support is a powerful tool! Get your spouse, a friend, or even the entire family to workout with you.
- Stay committed—Set a goal for yourself, and if you can get people to commit with you, you’ll have better accountability and others to help motivate you to reach your goals.
- Dedicate a specific time—Dedicate time each day away from your busy schedule to do your workout. Make an appointment with yourself and keep it!
- Do something you enjoy—If you enjoy the activity, you are more likely to continue doing it. Try something new. You never know what you will enjoy!
Hainzinger says each week you are successful with your daily exercise, treat yourself to a movie night or other incentive. It’s ok to take a day off or have a dessert once in awhile as long as you maintain your long term commitment to health and exercise.
“A lot of small accomplishments add up to larger accomplishments over time,” says Hainzinger. “Every day you are physically active is an accomplishment.”
So whether you’re at a gym, home, or outside the most important thing is to stay active and healthy.