Why Is Exercise So Important?

It might be easy to tell ourselves or others, “there’s just not enough time in my life for exercise”. I get it. Like so many of you, I juggle working full-time, kids’ schedules, meetings, grocery shopping, laundry, a 4:30pm dinner before two practices, and the list goes on.   It’s challenging and seems insurmountable to fit one more item on your “To Do” list.  But then I remember this excerpt from author, Iain Thomas:

“And every day, the world will drag you by the hand, yelling, “This is important! And this is important! You need to worry about this! And this! And this!’ And each day, it’s up to you to yank your hand back, put it on your heart and say, ‘No. THIS is what’s important.’”

I’m sure you would give this same advice to your loved ones, right? So, consider yourself. YOU are important. YOUR heart health is important. YOU deserve some exercise in your life!

WHY exercise is so important: 

Health Benefits Of Exercise Infographic

 

If you don’t make a change, things will remain the same

I often think of the word ‘Inertia’, in the law of Physics, a property of matter by which it continues in its existing state of rest or uniform motion in a straight line, unless that state is changed by an external force.

This law of physics couldn’t be more factual when discussing our physical fitness. The “a tendency to do nothing or remain unchanged” can especially hang in the air. Unless that state is changed by an external force (our own decisions and actions), nothing will change or improve.

The benefits of exercise are immeasurable

They truly are! Take a moment and look at the benefits of exercising regularly. There is not one prescription drug on the market that can have as positive of an effect on preventing and improving health conditions that exercise can.

Regular exercise can prevent or treat dozens of diseases, including diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, obesity and some cancers. It can also protect your joints, prevent falls and injuries and increase bone strength. In addition, it’s important to avoid inactivity or the amount of time spent sitting. Limiting sitting to less than six to eight hours a day is optimal. Regular exercise makes our activities of daily living much easier and provides us the ability to thrive!

We will THRIVE instead of simply survive

When we set aside a plan to exercise daily, we will reap many benefits and thrive in life, as opposed to simply try to survive. I love Arianna Huffington’s description in her book “Thrive” regarding how seriously we take the battery power sign on our smart phones. If it’s nearing “low power mode” we become a bit frantic as we search for the nearest power source to refuel and recharge.  However, in life, we rarely pause to recognize when our bodies are operating on “low power mode” and need to recharge.

If we took time to build strength, endurance and flexibility in our physical selves, the benefits spill over into other areas of our life, including our relationships, our careers, our outlook on life and even sleep patterns.

I could spend days here discussing how daily exercise improves our well-being and boosts our ability to thrive in life! You will find yourself more productive in your daily life. And your emotional health will receive a boost. Have you met a miserable individual that exercises regularly? I challenge you to find one….they are hard to find.

Ways to Start or Get Back into Exercise

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends exercising at least 150 minutes a week. Yet many of us still struggle to make this a part of our lives. Here are some ways to start an exercise routine or to get back into a routine if you have gotten off track.

Write Down Your “Why?”

Ask yourself “Why is it important to me that I start to exercise?” Are you out of breath after walking up a flight or two of stairs? Are your pants fitting more snug than previously?  Did your doctor recommend necessary health improvements that can be obtained through exercise? Or do you just want to have more energy, improve sleep quality or just feel better overall?

Having a “why” is the first intention in initiating an exercise program. Writing it down in a journal or in your “notes” in a mobile device helps you set up a foundation for staying focused on your goal. It provides the motivation to get off the couch and take the first steps toward moving more.

Take your “Why” to another level by professing it to a peer, family member, or friend; someone you know who will encourage and support you and hold you accountable. If you have a “why” you have a reason to get started.

Start by Taking “Small Steps”

Keep it simple and obtainable at first. Start with a ten-minute walk every day at a routine time that works for you. Then eventually add on more minutes. Another great way to start is by seeking the help of a professional at a fitness club, like Universal. A  personal trainer might also help, they can map out a plan to get you started on the right path with some cardio, strength and stretch workouts that are realistic for you to follow.

Find a pal, start moving and have fun with it. Make a commitment to it for one month. You’ll be happy with the difference it makes in your life!

Beginners Workout Guide for New Year’s Resolutioners

How to Stay Motivated with Your Fitness & Health Goals

Are you still feeling like it’s a “New Year, New You!”? For many people, the new year included a resolution… commit to a diet, determine an exercise regimen and much more. The hope for many is that by Spring, they will feel and look their best. Does this ring a bell? Regardless of what has you motivated to take charge of your health in 2018, starting and sticking to your plan can be challenging. This is why we put together some tips to help you stay motivated and meet your goals this year!

  1. Set Realistic Goals for Yourself

    Don’t reach for the stars, yet. Begin with short term, realistic goals. With exercise, start at a slow, comfortable pace. As you become more conditioned and comfortable in your workouts, up the ante and adjust goals accordingly. If weight loss is a goal for you, start by looking to lose 1-2 pounds/week. By starting small and setting realistic goals, you are setting yourself up for success.

  2. Hold Yourself Accountable

    Meeting with a fitness or wellness coach is a great idea for those who need guidance and support. Better determine your fitness short term and long term goals with a professional. Professional wellness coaches are trained to outline the best fitness plan for each and every client.

  3. Try A Group Fitness Class with A Gym Buddy

    Need a little motivation to get on track and stick to your plan? Go to a group fitness class! Better yet, go to a class with a friend! Be accountable to a buddy. Tap into the support of others and experience the motivation found in group fitness classes.  Group classes are also a benefit because if you are ever confused with a workout technique, a fitness instructor leading the class can provide alternative methods of training to help those who are just beginning their fitness journeys.

  4. Hire A Fitness Trainer at Your Local Gym

    To get started and stay motivated, you may want to hire a personal trainer to help you reach your fitness goals. Trainers are certified to help clients exercise safely. Personal Trainers are professionally taught how to best outline workout regimens for people who are just stepping into a healthier lifestyle or for those who are in need to meeting their personal fitness goals.

  5. Fit Workouts into Your Busy Day

    When your schedule does not allow you to get to the gym, you can incorporate a few simple workouts into your day anywhere you are. Using your own body weight creates a total-body workout for any ability level. Examples include:

  • Push-ups (advanced: with single leg raise)
  • Plank (advanced: side plank with raised top leg)
  • Squats (advanced: squat jumps)
  • Alternating Lunges (advanced: add a plyo jump)
  • Bent knee crunch (advanced: supine reverse crunch)

If you are at all in need of keeping to your New Year’s Resolution this year, we are happy to help you here at Universal! At Universal Athletic Club, our members’ success is our #1 priority. With a little bit of guidance, and a lot of encouragement, you too can start and stay committed to meeting your health and fitness goals in 2018!

Holiday Workout Plan: 6 Ways to Stay Motivated!

Let’s face it, the holidays challenge our willpower. We’re busier than ever, more stressed than usual, there are temptations everywhere, and so many convenient excuses for not sticking with our wellness plans. However, there is no reason we can’t stay motivated throughout the celebratory season. Consider these helpful hints.

1) Start with Setting A Holiday Health Goal

Decide ahead of time that you are going to stay healthy throughout the holidays. No matter what your personal intention is, make sure to keep it positive. Let’s say you always struggle with overdoing the Christmas cookies – your intention might be, “I am going to enjoy a moderate amount of Christmas cookies this year.” Hold yourself accountable by avoiding negative self-talk. Perhaps your issue is that you tend to replace gym time with holiday shopping. Your intention could be, “This year, I am going to stick to my gym schedule while also completing my holiday shopping along the way.” It may seem trivial, but the power of setting a positive intention is greater than you may realize, so start there.

Holiday Exercise Infographic Compressor

2) Cater Your Exercise Schedule to Your Holiday Schedule

If there’s one thing for certain, your schedule is going to get hijacked over the holidays, which means you’ll need to “think outside the box” in order to get your exercise in. For example, if you tend to keep a strict workout schedule, realize that you may need to change it up in order to accommodate for those extra holiday activities like family visits, cookie baking, holiday concerts, etc. Accept that you’ll have to skip that Monday night 6:00pm class you’ve literally never missed, and know that you can still get a workout in another day or time that week.

“I don’t have time” is just another way of saying “caring for myself isn’t a priority.” So, put your workouts and gym time on your calendar, that way your day (and your workout) won’t get away from you.

You’ll need to take a different approach, depending on your holiday schedule, whether you are “going with the flow” or needing to plan ahead. Once you’ve integrated your best exercise routine, you’ll feel good about embracing a new perspective.

3) Find Yourself a Holiday Fitness Buddy!

For many of us, working out is more fun when we have someone to train with, so find a partner! Just because you have out-of-town guests for the holiday week doesn’t mean you have to forego your exercise time. Perhaps your guest would even like to visit the gym with you? Many athletic clubs, like Universal, allow you to bring a guest.

Gym a No-Go?

If going to the gym is not an option for your buddy and they don’t want to join you at the gym, going for a walk around town or a hike on a local trail are great ways to get moving and spend quality time with those you care about.

Corporate Wellness

Also, many companies now offer corporate wellness programs  and incentives, so take advantage of that; should it be available at your workplace. It’s a fun way to connect with your co-workers on a different level. Even if there’s not a program, think about asking one or more of your co-workers to take a walk over lunch break to burn off some of those extra cookie calories!

4) Plan Your Holiday Workout, Outdoors

Here’s the deal. Spending time outside and connecting to nature is medicine for your body and soul. Don’t let a little cold weather keep you from moving. The key is to dress for the weather, because if you’re cold it won’t be enjoyable. Exercise and the outdoors were both meant to be enjoyed. So layer up, dig out your hats and gloves, step into your boots, and get going! Shoveling snow, sledding with your kids, ice- skating and skiing, etc. are great ways to stay moving throughout the holiday season and winter months. Think of it this way, the faster you move the warmer you’ll stay.

5) Find Ways to Let Go of Your Holiday Stress

One of the biggest challenges we face over the holidays is stress. Stress can do crazy things to our minds and bodies, which are, as we know, intricately connected. Exercise is one of the most effective ways to release stress and tension, in addition to playing a vital role in building and maintaining a strong immune system. Stress also tends to weaken our immune system. So, it’s actually extra important that we continue our self-care regimen throughout the holidays, which often coincides with cold and flu season.

Consider this: Exercise = less stress & stronger immune system.

If you’ve never tried a mind-body exercise, this is he perfect time to do it. The holidays are over-stimulating with music, advertisements, sales, movies, presents, food, all of which, can be quite overwhelming. Taking time away from that may be just the thing you need to stay centered and grounded in the true meaning of the season. Universal Athletic Club offers a variety of mind-body classes  to soothe your senses while cultivating strength and focus. Make time to re-connect to yourself, unwind, and let go of your holiday anxiety.

6) Portion Control Your Favorite Holiday Foods

So maybe your eating plan is going to be de-railed over the holidays…or so you think. Just because there are a lot of extra food, drinks, and sweets swirling around, doesn’t mean you have to surrender to making unhealthy choices for yourself all season. That said, it’s definitely easy to overindulge during the holidays.

Consider that it’s not only about what you eat, but how you eat it AND allow yourself to indulge somewhat without the added guilt. After all, it IS the holiday season so:

  • Don’t overload your plate.
  • Choose smaller portions so that you don’t feel obligated to “clean your plate” even though you’ve had enough.
  • Take time to savor your food.
  • Chew slowly and thoroughly.
  • Every now and then, put your fork down and take some deep breaths.
  • Ask yourself, am I still hungry? If the answer is yes, continue eating, but do not eat until you feel full. A good rule of thumb is to eat until you no longer feel hungry.

Eating can be a great experience, not just an act of filling your belly. Practice mindful consumption, you’ll enjoy your meal more and eat the amount of food that is appropriate for you.

HOW UNIVERSAL CAN HELP YOU REMAIN ACCOUNTABLE THIS HOLIDAY:

No need to wait and make a New Year’s resolution that you may not stick to anyway. Make YOU a priority starting now and you can’t go wrong.

Universal Athletic Club offers a virtual fitness program so you can take a class anytime. So, even if you miss your favorite class, you can still workout in the studio with the guidance of a virtual instructor! We also offer a variety of classes,  where you can bring a family member, friend or guest of choice over the holiday season.

The colder months are upon us, and if you’re still not convinced that you can make it through this winter season on your own; consider joining your local fitness club,  Universal. Contact us for a consultation with a personal trainer or visit our fitness class schedule to learn more.

15 Ways to get motivated to exercise

If you’re making a commitment to live healthier, congratulations! There are many ways to keep yourself motivated to exercise and make healthy choices. Here are my top 15 recommendations to stay on track:

  1. Read success stories of others.  Reading testimonials about the success of others can be very inspirational; you might be able to relate to many of their real-life challenges and triumphs.
  1. Envision how you are going to look and feel. Picture a “fitter you” to help inspire your next workout. What’s your favorite outfit that you wish you would feel fantastic in? How happy would you feel being able to physically keep up with your kids or grandkids?
  1. Set realistic on-going goals.Setting realistic, achievable goals is very motivating. It could be anything from losing a few pounds, being able to walk a mile around the track, or running your first 5K.how-to-set-your-intentions-001
  1. Seek the help of a fitness coach or trainer. Working with a trainer will give you the education, support, and motivation you need.
  1. Keep an exercise log. This will help you set goals, see your progress, and have a sense of accomplishment.
  1. Don’t do it alone. Recruit a friend or two to exercise with you for extra encouragement. In return, you’ll help motivate them.
  1. Take Group Training or Team Training classes. The benefits of getting involved in a group fitness or training program  are incredible! From BODYPUMP to Aqua Fitness, or from Boxing to Yoga, the energy from the instructors and other class participants is contagious!
  1. Remember how amazing you feel! There is nothing like the feeling after a great workout. The sense of accomplishment and the “high” you’ll feel will keep you going all day. Remember that great feeling for the next time!
  1. Release your stress. All wound up from life’s daily ups and downs? There is nothing better at getting rid of stress  than physical activity.
  1. Make exercise convenient. If you are going to have trouble making a class on a certain day or time, try a virtual fitness class at a time that works with your schedule.
  1. If guilt works, then use it! If you feel sluggish due to a missed workout, turn that negative into a positive and use it as a motivator to make exercise a priority the next day!
  1. Think about how much better you’ll sleep. Forget buying that new pillow or mattress; numerous studies have proven regular exercise improves your sleep quality .  Link to a sleep study
  1. Vary your workout routine. You know the saying “variety is the spice of life?” The same holds true when it comes to an exercise program. Mix it up with different kinds of activities or programs so that you’re always challenging your mind and body. Most importantly, HAVE FUN!
  1. Reward yourself. You’ve worked hard, so treat yourself to a massage, a new outfit, or something else you’ve always thought about, like personal training sessions  (link to new PT page you created. Make sure that your reward is something that will keep you on track, not set you back!
  1. Celebrate your success! There is nothing better than achieving goals that you set for yourself, whether big or small. So “bask in the glory” and use this positive feeling to keep you active and healthy all year long!

Let us help you get motivated to exercise in a way that works for you! Contact Us to get started on your plan to success.

 

See Our Member Success stories