It is almost the start of the new year, and time for a new you!
You can do this by introducing more exercise into your life, but this is easier said than done when there is an ongoing pandemic, and the stresses of everyday life.
Still, there are several ways to embrace a new fitness routine and a healthier lifestyle, whether the calendar says January 2023 or not. The new year is a fine starting point to work more movement into your life – but so is any other day.
According to Takese Foga, director of health, promotions and education in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, persons should explore different options and find something that is appropriate for them, interesting to them, and something they would want to do long term. The really big goal is to find a long-term solution, not just a resolution.
“Persons should make healthy practices a part of their lifestyle. They should incorporate physical activity and healthy lifestyle practices into their routine, not just as a new year resolution. Start small and incorporate what you do into something you love at home and at the workplace,” Foga said.
For those wanting to work out at home, there are numerous routines and products that easily fit into the busiest of schedules.
“The motivation to become more active and fitter is the first place to start. If an individual is motivated and in that contemplation stage where they are planning to start to make a change, that is awesome. It is a good way to progress them to better health overall,” Foga said.
IDENTIFY INTERNAL MOTIVATORS
One way is to progress slowly back into a fitness regimen. That might start with a light, leisurely walk or a bike ride, being aware of the environmental conditions and appropriately prepared for the weather.
“This could be at the gym or at home, or could be just general activity that is not normally described as ‘fitness’ but is just movement in general,” Foga said.
Staying fit and healthy during the pandemic can help in multiple ways. There have already been numerous studies which suggest that good physical health might decrease COVID-19’s symptoms or could help someone recover faster.
“We don’t know a lot about it yet, but we do know that fitness can help with your mental health, which can be a lifesaver during a pandemic. We were all dealing with so many different areas of our life being completely changed, being stuck at home, being away from individuals, so the social element was missing,” Foga said.
But you can start by joining an online community or remote exercise classes that could bring back a little bit of that connectivity.
What is absolutely critical about any lifestyle choice we make, whether it is fitness, nutrition, stress management or self-care, is to identify our true internal motivators, or what our ‘why’ is.
We might want to do this to be more physically fit, but ‘Why is that so important to you?’ is a question you need to ask yourself, and then ask ‘Why?’ again. When you answer those, you are going to find your true reasons for not just wanting to, but needing to change this in your life. That is going to be something you can fall back on when it does get tougher.
“Having a social support is also immensely impactful. It does not have to be a group exercise class. It can just be a friend who is doing a similar exercise plan as you are. You may join a local club, like a walking club or running club, to help with that accountability and motivation,” Foga added.
Everyone takes steps backwards, but if we keep taking a couple forward, it will make a big difference in the long term.
SOURCE: Ministry of Health and Wellness