When I began this wellness journey of mine 5 years ago, I was all about finding the best workout routine. I wanted to burn the most calories possible in the shortest amount of time possible (enter HIIT). All the time, I was looking for the latest and greatest, the next best workout. Eventually though, I learned (with some prompting from my personal trainer, Steve) that good workout routines are the ones you will actually do.
I went through a phase where I really loved running. After a couple of injuries and pushing myself to complete a half marathon that I shouldn’t have, I decided it probably wasn’t for me. But, there was that period in my life where I absolutely lived for my daily, 3-mile run. I was always looking for the next 5k I could sign up for and my day wasn’t complete without getting outside for that run.
A friend of mine loves long bicycle rides and another good friend loves the rowing machine. My parents enjoy their treadmill, and these days I’m all about the daily dog-walk. It’s gentler on my body than running, but can still be a good workout.
Cardio activities are great for getting your heart rate up and improving endurance.
I was a little nervous when Steve first suggested I begin strength-training. He quickly explained that I wouldn’t “bulk up” and look less feminine, but that I would build muscle, tone and burn fat more efficiently as I became stronger. I didn’t have those concerns though. Actually, I just had never thought of myself as physically strong (I never had been), and I didn’t believe in myself that I could become strong.
Boy, was I wrong! Once I started building a solid strength-training routine, I began to love it even more than running. I loved the feeling when I would pick up the weight I’d been using and found it was too light to challenge me. Time to move up. It was easier to track my progress in building strength. Plus, I was becoming strong, something I never thought I would be!
Ladies, if you’ve never done any strength training before, I recommend giving it a try. It’s something I’ve relaxed on over the last few years and lost. I am so excited to begin building my strength back up again.
Walking can be done anywhere, at any time, indoors or outdoors. No. Gym. Required. I like to walk with my husband and my dog down our peaceful country road and around our property.
Since I typically walk outdoors, one off the major benefits I get from walking is the sense of peace and mental clarity that comes from simply spending time in the great outdoors.
A University of Michigan study even found that group nature walks can lower depression and stress levels.
Walking is an excellent workout for someone just starting down the wellness path. Transitioning from a life spent primarily on the couch to an active one is tough! Walking can be done on your own or with a friend. You can walk quickly or slowly. Uphill, downhill, on level ground.
When I first started taking my daily walks, I really eased into it. I started off with a 10-minute walk on flat, level ground. Eventually, I was running with regularity and even completing some longer, steep hikes.
Hight Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a great way to knock out a full workout when time is limited. If it’s something you’re interested in trying, I highly recommend working with a personal trainer who can help you set the right intervals for your experience and fitness levels.
Thinking Outside the Box
Working out doesn’t just have to be the standards like cardio and strength, though! Exercise I’ve enjoyed in my life include all of the above, yoga, line-dancing, hiking, stacking firewood with my husband, playing basketball with my little brother, and challenging myself to complete 40 pushups per day for 40 days.
Think outside the box: What activities do you enjoy that get your body moving? Start increasing those activities. Make a point of adding them into your day. Before you know it, you’ll be getting stronger, healthier and more fit.
Good Workout Routines are What You Make Them
Working out shouldn’t be a chore to dread. Guess what? If you hate doing it, there is always going to be an excuse not to. So, find something you enjoy doing, something that makes you feel great, and just stick with that! If you love running on the treadmill while watching movies on your iPad, do it! Maybe weight training is more your jam, so do that! Line dancing more up your alley? Do. It.
Whatever keeps your body in motion and brightens your day is a good workout routine and one you should stick with. Tell me, what type of exercise have you found that you really love?
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