NASE News

Put Your Heart in Motion

You picked up the laundry, scheduled those appointments and made your phone calls. You still need to go to the grocery store, pick up a birthday gift and swing by the library before going home to start dinner and to balance the budget. And now somewhere in there you are expected to find the time to workout?

Americans lead busy lives and keeping up with all the daily expectations each day serves as work in itself. Making time to fit in physical fitness has a tendency to fall on the backburner for many people. There seem to be greater priorities in life. However, sometimes you need to set aside special time for yourself and your family to get your hearts in motion. Prolonging life with healthy decisions makes it possible for you to keep moving for the other responsibilities that absorb your attention and your time!

If you need some more reasons, consider some of the benefits that exercise offers. Losing weight, while building endurance and muscle, improves your health. Your cardiovascular system gets a boost of energy and doesn’t work as hard while your body is in relaxation mode. Bone density increases as you apply weight lifting in your fitness plan and calcium in your diet. Muscle groups in your body can provide more strength and balance. Flexibility develops to relieve tension while improving mobility and grace.

As your internal system improves, you may notice external benefits of incorporating a physical fitness program into your lifestyle. Better posture and a heightened since of self-confidence generally result from exercise. Strengthening your core muscles and extending flexibility lead your body to take an improved poise. Carrying yourself with more assurance emits an improved image to you and others. The positive energy you give off makes you more approachable, thus creating social benefits and opportunities. In addition, exercise serves as an enjoyable activity when you choose something you like. What’s better than having fun while improving your health?

Knowing the benefits of physical fitness is important, but taking action is what brings results! Perhaps it has been a while since you had an exercise regime, or maybe exercise is completely new to you. Regardless of the situation, there are a number of tips that can help you in your latest venture of self-improvement. Keep these tid-bits of advice in mind to experience optimal results from your fitness program.

30 Minutes
Adults need 30 minutes of physical activity for five or more days of the week, while children need 60 minutes, to meet preferred exercise guidelines. Studies show that breaking the time down into small segments of 10-15 minutes at a time is acceptable. Choose a system that works best for you and your schedule.

Tortoise vs. Hare
As you slip into your workout, remember to take it easy. Increasing levels of exertion and endurance take time, so keep that in mind as you start. Listen to your body because it knows when it has performed all that it can. Consider the story of the tortoise and the hare. The hare rushed through the race and expected to come out on top. The tortoise took its time and came out victorious. If you follow the pattern of the hare, expect to encounter injury and burnout. By mimicking the tortoise, you beat the odds with a healthy workout that improves your overall lifestyle.

Find a Support Team
As you begin your journey of success, it helps to have the support of friends and family. If they recognize your goals, they are less likely to sabotage your efforts! Having people who are accountable for you helps to push through the difficult times when you are exasperated and feel like quitting. You can also find support from an individual who can exercise with you. Though the two of you may not share the same goals, enjoy their company as you perform cardiovascular activities or lift weights. If the idea of an “exercise regime” turns you off, consider the benefits of team sports like basketball or volleyball. Wherever you find a support base, recognize that they are the ones who are there to encourage and to assist you.

Balance Your Workout
Find balance by incorporating aerobic endurance, muscle strength, muscular endurance, flexibility and body composition. Aerobic endurance challenges your body to work as hard as it can for a period of time in order to improve your cardiovascular system. As you concentrate on exercises for your muscles, keep in mind that steadily increasing how much you lift for several repetitions improves strength and endurance in your muscles. Flexibility is important because it prepares your muscles and limbs for all the work they do. Improving your movements and endurance is part of creating a flexible body. Body composition is the ratio of body fat to lean body mass.

Follow the Format
As you workout, it is important to follow a format that prevents injury and promotes effective use of time.

  • Warm-up

  • Stretch

  • Exercise

  • Cool-down

  • Stretch

The warm-up and cool down prepare your muscles and your heart for exercise and let your body know when it can return to a normal level of activity. Relieve tension and elongate warm muscles to prevent injury from an exercise by stretching. It is key to use slow, controlled movements as you stretch and to focus on each muscle group.

Exercise is invigorating and provides energy by warming up the body. However, remember to take a break during the week to let your body relax and recover. Recognize that changes don’t happen overnight, so stick with your plan to reap the rewards. Envision success and choose activities that appeal to your interests to incorporate a fitness plan into your lifestyle. Look forward to discovering a new, healthy you and have fun!

For more information about National Physical Fitness and Sports Month, visit http://www.fitness.gov/.