You may have a goal of becoming more active this year, but you might be finding it difficult to stay motivated. You are not alone. According to a study by the University of Southern California’s Center for a Digital Future, 32% of Americans say they are exercising less than before the pandemic.
Incorporating physical activity into your day has a ton of benefits including aiding in weight loss, boosting your immune system, relieving stress and helping to lower your blood pressure. The goal is to get 150 minutes of physical activity each week.
While it can be hard to get and stay motivated, here are some tips to help you meet your physical activity goals.
Make a plan. Figure out when you can incorporate physical activity into your week. The 150 minutes of weekly recommended physical activity can be broken down into 30 minutes over five days or even smaller increments throughout the day. The important thing is to move, even if it is for 10 minutes at a time. If you are not sure how to fit physical activity into your schedule, log how you spend your time each day, so you can see where exercise might fit in. Once you have an exercise schedule, develop a backup plan to help you catch up in case you cannot exercise at your regular time. Activities such as walking or climbing stairs require no equipment and can be done indoors, if the weather is not cooperating.
Find something you enjoy doing. Research has shown that people who enjoy their physical activity have a better chance of sticking with it. Also, to have an effect, your activity does not have to be difficult. It could be as simple as walking around your neighborhood or dancing to music each day.
Find ways to make it social. Prior to the coronavirus, some people found it helpful to have an exercise partner or join a gym class for motivation. While we now must be socially distant, we can still share in the social aspects of physical activity. You can call your former workout buddy while you are doing the activity that you used to do together, or you can find a virtual exercise class. Many gyms are conducting former in-person classes on Zoom. You can make it a family activity by encouraging your family to be active with you.
For more information on ways to get and stay active, contact the Meade County office of the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service. Educational programs of the Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of economic or social status and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expressions, pregnancy, marital status, genetic information, age, veteran status, or physical or mental disability.