29 Mar Escape Hibernation: Get Moving This Spring
By Joni Garcia, MS, RD, Contributing Blogger
I’m not sure if it’s the cold or the short days, but it’s SO difficult to be motivated to exercise during the winter months! But something kicks in right around this time of the year which inspires me to get moving. Perhaps it’s the longer days and warmer weather that makes me happier along with the stark realization that I’ll be wearing shorts, skirts and tank tops pretty soon.
How Much Exercise Do You Need?
Most Americans don’t get enough exercise and tend to exercise even less in the winter months. According to a 2011 poll which looked at the health habits of Americans, about 54.5% of those interviewed reported exercising regularly in July verses 49.8% in November, and regular exercise tends to drop even lower in December.
It’s easy to make excuses not to exercise, but we all need to quit complaining and make it a priority. According to the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, we should be physically active for at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days per week at moderate intensity to reduce risk of a variety of diseases such as heart disease, certain cancers and even depression. It should be a moderately intense cardio activity where you should be able to talk, but not sing during the exercise and break a sweat, such as brisk walking, biking or outside yard work (think gardening or mowing the lawn). If you like to exercise outdoors, you’ll also get your daily dose of vitamin D from the sun (along with that beautiful sun-kissed glow).
Get motivated and moving by using these 5 simple tips. Always remember to check with your doctor or health care provider before starting a new exercise routine.
- Break it up. Exercising for 10 minutes, three times a day provides the same benefits as exercising 30 minutes all at once. It’s pretty easy to do 10 minutes in the morning, 10 during lunch and 10 in the evening – just be sure you’re moving enough to get your heart rate up.
- Check out a new class. Sometimes you just need to change up your routine to get back on track. Have you tried yoga, pilates, spin or barre? I’m sure there is one or more of these classes happening in your area.
- Sign up for a local exercise group. There are usually a number of softball, waking, running and biking groups and leagues in every city. Exercising with a buddy often helps to keep motivation levels in high gear.
- Go old skool. Break out the badminton, frisbee, kickball, hula hoop or any game you played as a kid. While these games may seem old fashioned, they are so much fun, and the equipment needed is super cheap. Grab your friends and family and get moving!
- Just get outside. Something as simple as going for a short walk outside will help increase energy and decrease stress and counts towards your total daily exercise minutes. Even if you intend to walk for just a few minutes, it’s likely you’ll end up walking longer. If you’re feeling more adventurous, head to a local park, the beach or the mountains and take a more intensive hike.
Tell Me: How will you get moving this spring?