Exercising Tips: 37 Tips to Help You Lose Weight, Have More Energy to Enjoy Your Life, and Avoid Illnesses and Medicines Without Spending Long Boring Hours That You Don’t Have in the Gym or on a Tread Mill
There is great value in doing formal workouts. Cardio, resistance, and flexibility training all have their place. According to cdc.gov, you should aim for 150 minutes of moderate cardio (e.g., walking briskly, light yard work, biking at a casual pace; 50-70% of maximum heart rate) or 75 minutes of intense cardio (e.g., jogging, swimming laps, jumping rope; 70-85% of maximum heart rate) a week to maintain your weight. You should do more to lose weight.
Do weight training for each major muscle group (i.e., legs, hips, back, chest, abdomen, shoulders, and arms) at least twice a week. And hsph.harvard.edu suggests that you do flexibility training at least two days a week.
However, there are many ways that you can move your body throughout the day and thereby burn a few extra calories. Think about it. If you burn just an extra 200 calories a day for a week, that is 1,400 calories a week. In a month of four weeks, that is 5,600 calories, and 67,200 calories a year. Since it takes 3,500 calories to make a pound, you can lose 19 pounds a year just by moving a little bit more each day.
Experts recommend working out 45 minutes to an hour a day (30 minutes for beginners) for weight loss and fitness. However, breaking the exercising routine into a series of 10 minute chunks can be just as effective, and it can also keep your confidence up, since skipping your exercise routine can make you feel tired, guilty, or depressed. Here are some simple and practical ways to work exercise (i.e., calorie burning activities) into your day, even when you’re short on time:
I. Preparation Tips
Develop your “why statement.” Sit down and write a “why” statement. Make a list of all of the great things that will happen, if you were to do your best to develop and maintain healthy exercising and eating habits. Your list may include energy to play with your children or grandchildren, developing or maintaining your attractive appearance, and your avoidance of chronic diseases, medicines, and their side effects.
Add to your list all of the terrible things that will happen, if you were to avoid developing and maintaining healthy exercising and eating routines. Your list may include developing illnesses, having to take medicines with all kinds of side effects, enduring joint and back pain, and missing out on the best years of your life.
Now, mold the list into a statement. It may go something like this “I am motivated to work on my exercise routine because I believe that in so doing, I will gain energy to enjoy my vacations and spending time with loved ones as well as set a great example for my grandchildren. And by so doing, I will avoid missing out on some of the best years of my life, by being bed ridden with all kinds of meds and side effects.”
– Display your “why statement” in places that you will be see it and be motivated by it. Think about places like your desk, refrigerator, car, night stand, etc.
Set Some SMART Goals. SMART is a rather popular acronym where the letters represent the following words: S – specific, M- measurable, A – attainable, R – relevant, and T – time bound. Goals will help to keep you pointed in the right direction. Goals also help you see when you are making progress. Examples of goals may be to do three sets of push-ups with 12 reps per set, within the next 30 days. Your goal may be to do a 30 minute walk three days a week for the next four consecutive weeks. Or your goal may be to walk or run in the upcoming 5k (i.e., insert the time and place of the 5k event).
Choose activities that you like and that fit your life style. It is easier to stay with activities that you like. And it is easy to give up on activities that are too hard for you or are boring to you. So if you like dancing and walking as opposed to basketball or gardening then choose the former, instead of the latter.
– Think about your availability. If you don’t have time to go to the gym then learn to workout at home. If you do better with the social support of a gym then sign up for a gym membership and make sure you actually go to the gym and workout. The gym membership will not help you, unless you actually go and workout.
– Experiment and discover which time of the day is best for you to exercise. And then discipline yourself to exercise at that time or as close to it as you can. The closer you exercise to your peak time, the more comfortable it will be, and the more likely you are to stay with it.
– Try exercising outdoors. This will give you a nice dose of fresh air and sunshine.
Be a student and experimenter. Study books, blogs, and websites to learn about different types of exercise for different parts of your body. Experiment with one or two at a time to see which ones work for you. And be conscious that as your body changes, your exercises may need to change. Some of those who run in their 20’s may walk in their 60’s.
Make sure you build rest into your exercise program. It is not good to exercise the same muscle group two days in a row. And the body would appreciate having a day of no or very little exercise. I personally like to do my cardio on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and then do my resistance on Tuesday and Thursday. I like doing my flexibility training on Thursday and Saturday. This leaves Sunday as a day of mostly rest, even though I enjoy taking a leisurely paced walk for about 30 minutes.
Plan exercise into your day. Set aside a specific time in your schedule to exercise and put it in your planner. You can plan 10 minute sessions in the morning, afternoon, and/or evening to make it more convenient for you. This can give essentially the same benefit as a 30 minutes work out in the morning.
Try to work out with a partner. Your partner can help you stay on track on keep you motivated. It is easier to stay in the bed, when no one is waiting on you. However, when you know your partner is waiting on you and counting on you to help them get through their work out as well then it is harder to stay in the bed. Aim for someone who is serious about their consistency. You don’t need them hindering you by being late or inconsistent. Exercising by yourself may be better than having a partner who drains your energy.
Be consistent. You don’t have to be the fastest or strongest. But if you are consistent, you will be healthier in the long run.
Increase gradually. Increase your workout time or intensity gradually, instead of a as a sudden increase. For example, going from 10 reps per set to 11 reps per set to 12 reps a set and then increasing your weight and going back to 10 reps per set is better than just one huge increase. Increasing your walk or run by five or ten minutes per week is better than a sudden 45 minute addition. Making gradual increases will help you stay with the routine for the long term. Sudden drastic increases may lead to not only injury, but the workout may be so strenuous that you don’t want to work out the next time.
Listen to your body. Stop when your body has had enough. Learn the difference between having a good workout and pushing yourself too hard. When you push too hard, you are subject to more injuries and/or not wanting to work out again. Remember that you are aiming for long term exercising routines, not just a short term demonstration of how hard you can push yourself.
Keep an exercise journal. Monitor the following: which exercises, reps, sets, weights, and times. The journal will help you see what you are actually doing and give you some encouragement as you see your numbers improving over time.
Ask the experts. Especially if you’re just getting started, hiring a professional trainer can help you with determining what types of exercise you need most. After as little as a session or two, you can train with greater confidence that you are on the right path regarding which exercises to do and proper form.
Reward yourself. Choose fitness-focused rewards for reaching your goals, such as new workout gear or a heart rate monitor.
Take a brisk walk. This is a great work out for beginners and many intermediates. Walking at three to four miles an hour is a good pace for many people. You should actually aim for at least 50% of your maximum heart rate for moderate cardio (see cdc.gov).
– If you have a dog, try taking it for a run, instead of simply a walk. The higher your heart rate, the more calories you will burn.
– Tuck in your tummy and inflate your chest when you walk. This helps with both posture, calorie burning, and core muscle development.
– Park in a distant parking space in the parking lot, park a block away from your destination, get off a stop or two earlier on the bus or subway and walk the rest of the way, as ways of getting some extra steps.
– Walk, instead of drive, to do close errands (i.e., less than 2 miles).
– Try a pedometer (i.e., a step counter). They are relatively inexpensive, easy to use, and help you to stay on track with your activity goals. There are those who like to aim for 10,000 steps a day, but you may have to start with 3,000 steps and work your way up. With consistency, you will be surprised how quickly you will increase your number of steps.
– When you go outside to pick up your mail, morning newspaper, or retrieve your garbage cans, take a five minute power walk up the street and back.
– After dinner, go for a nice 10 to 20 minute walk.
– Take a walk, while you wait for your child’s activities. You may want to add a one or two minute burst of jogging, after a while.
Take the stairs, instead of elevators and escalators whenever possible. If you take the escalator, walk up the stairs, instead of simply standing there.
– If you take the elevator, try raising yourself onto the balls of your feet and then back down several times. You can also flex muscles in your buttock, abs, chest, or arms.
Trade screen time for active time. Instead of watching so much television, sitting in front of the computer, or sitting with your smart phone, find ways to move.
– Straighten up around the house.
– Stop using the remote controls. Get up and change the channel.
– Put your cell phone in the next room and get up to see who is calling or texting.
– When you are sitting, don’t slouch. Maintaining an erect posture will help with your core muscles and reducing or avoiding lower back pain.
– Walk around, march in place, jog in place, stretch, do some push-ups, do leg lifts, etc. during TV commercial breaks.
– If you have a sitting job, set a 30 minute timer. Every 30 minutes get up and do something – stretch, march in place, jump and jacks, etc.
– Use a less comfortable chair for watching TV to help you cut down on some of your TV time and to engage your core.
– Tuck your stomach in real tight (try to make your belly button touch your back bone) and clinch your butt checks. Breathe as your hold the muscle contractions for about 60 seconds. Relax for 20 to 40 seconds and try it again. This contraction exercise can be done while watching TV, commercials, sitting at the desk, sitting in the car, etc. Set a goal for 10, 20, or 30 contraction minutes a day.
Consider buying exercise equipment for your home. Having a treadmill, stationary bicycle, or elliptical machine at home can be convenient, and they be more reasonably priced than you may think. However, the cheaper models tend to be less sturdy. And buying the equipment will not help you, if you don’t actually work out on the equipment.
Make it fun. Try a new sport like tennis, table tennis, rollerblading, roller skating, ice skating, basketball, dancing, swimming, or anything that burns calories. The more that you enjoy your activity/exercise, the more likely you are to stick with it.
Sign up for a class. Check out the fitness courses schedule at your local gym or community center. Look at the dance or yoga class schedule at a nearby studio. You may find that having the structure of a class helps you learn a new activity and keeps you on track.
Tips for around the house. If you’re taking care of a sick child or grandchild, sneak a quick jump and jacks, jogging in place, or marching in place work out in.
– While cooking dinner, try working some standing push-ups in. Stand about an arm’s length from the kitchen counter, and push your arms against the counter and then back to the starting position to tone your arms and shoulders.
– Try a few dumbbell or band exercises right before bed. Keep the dumbbells or bands nearby.
– Play with your child at the park (e.g., catch, Frisbee, tag, etc.), instead of simply letting them play.
– Hop on a piece of home equipment, while watching TV, reading, or returning phone calls.
– If you can walk, walk. If you can’t walk, at least stand. If you can’t stand, at least sit up, instead of lie down.
While Traveling. Pack your sneakers and fitness bands, so you can work out in your room.
– Try to reserve your hotel room on the third to fifth floor, and then use the stairs, instead of the elevator. If you are advanced, try taking two stairs at a time.
– Stop at least every three hours of driving to get a 10 walk and stretch routine in.
– In airports, avoid the mechanized “moving carpets,” and walk around the concourse, instead of just sitting around and waiting.
At Work. Try walking to work.
– Walk to a nearby lunch shop.
– Leave for a meeting five to ten minutes early to allow for a little extra walking.
– Try to walk during your lunch period. A 20 minute walk, especially with co-workers, before you eat and get back to work can be very beneficial.
Conclusion: So you have 37 tips listed above. Instead of being overwhelmed by trying to do them all at one time or just being a professional student, commit to two or three tips until they become a part of your routine. Add a few more and a few more. Keep going.