Get Into the Swing of Being Active

mother and father taking a walk with their daughter

Remember how great you felt after a brisk walk on a crisp, sunny winter’s day? Or how you felt when cooling off in a swimming pool on a hot day? If not, you may be missing out on the pleasures of being active active.

As you become more physically active you’ll:

  • Have more energy
  • Manage stress better
  • Feel better about yourself
  • Meet new people – if you choose
  • Find new ways to spend quality time with friends and family

Being physically active will add healthy years to your life by lowering your risk for:

  • Heart disease
  • Osteoporosis (brittle bones)
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • An unhealthy weight
  • Some forms of cancer

Common Challenges and Solutions

Challenge 1: Lack of time prevent you from exercising

Solution: Fitting the recommended 30 minutes per day of moderate physical activity into your routine really is do-able. Here’s how:

  • Break it down into three 10-minute activity breaks. Park 10 minutes away from work, take a 10-minute walk at lunch or after dinner, or get off the bus earlier and walk the rest of the way.
  • Watch less TV! On days you are going to watch TV, limit viewing time to one hour.
  • Always make the active choice. Walk or cycle to do errands such as banking or getting a newspaper.
  • Schedule time with yourself. Make an “appointment” with yourself to be active, revitalize and reflect – have a back-up plan just in case you can’t keep this “appointment”.

Challenge 2: Lack of energy to exercise

Solution: The more fit you are, the more energy you’ll have: it may sound too good to be true, but being active actually gives you energy! Within a few weeks of becoming physically active, you will notice that you have more energy.

Challenge 3: Lack of motivation to exercise

Solution: This is a big factor and one that requires some thought and planning to conquer. But once you’re into a regular routine, the motivation often takes care of itself! Here are some easy strategies:

  • Use the buddy system. Make health a reason to get together with your friend: plan an active get-together each week with a buddy – you’ll be less tempted to cancel.
  • Employ the 10-minute rule. When you don’t feel like being active, commit to just 10 minutes that day – it can help to keep you motivated.
  • Make it convenient and enjoyable. Then you’ll be more likely to stick to it. Remember – nothing is more convenient than going for a walk out your front door!

Ready, set, go! Start being active today!

Getting started can be the hardest part. Within a few weeks, you will likely notice that you have a whole new positive “can-do” approach to being active. Here are some steps that may help:

  1. Write down the reasons why you want to get active. Do you want to have more energy or meet new people?
  2. Set one realistic goal. Focus on doing the activity rather than how well you do it.
  3. Picture yourself as an active person. Try it!
  4. Ask friends how they got started. Maybe you can join them?
  5. Research what is available in your community. Find out where the recreation centres, swimming pools, YMCA, YWCA, arenas, and walking or cycling trails are. Check your newspaper, yellow pages or recreation guide for some of this information.
  6. Watch or try a fitness class. If you think you might enjoy a fitness class, ask for a pass for one free trial class. And don’t be discouraged if you find it difficult: remember, you are just getting started.
  7. Start slowly. Start by walking from one telephone pole to the next, swimming one lap, doing five sit-ups, or skating one lap around the ice.

Physical activity should be fun and feel good. It should be about the joy of movement – the joy of moving to music, having time to collect your thoughts, feeling your heartbeat and getting stronger, and enjoying nature, your community and being with friends.

Last Update – February 7, 2019

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