Saturday, March 31, 2001
Spring has sprung. It's time for new growth, new beginnings and a renewed commitment to health and wellness. This spring, take a little time to plant some new seeds of thought into your weary brain refreshing reminders of things you can do, starting now, to attain greater strength and energy:
1. Set realistic goals. It's a mistake to rush into your springtime renewal program with unrealistic expectations (e.g., losing 25 pounds by summer). You'll only set yourself up for failure. A smarter plan is to feel successful from the get-go by setting moderate, achievable goals. The trick is to take pleasure in small victories.
2. Keep a fitness journal. This will help keep you on track, focused on your goals. It doesn't involve much effort just a few lines a day and yet the payoff is big, in terms of behavior modification.
3. Find a partner. Some people prefer to travel solo down that fitness road, but others benefit from good company and constant conversation. If that's your style, join a group, sign up for a class, hunt around for an interesting friend who wants to train, too.
4. Know the basics. This is a big point to be crammed into a little paragraph, but if you want a fitness program that produces results, physically and mentally, you should follow certain minimums: some aerobic activity at least three or four times a week, at least 20 to 30 minutes a session with some time for a warm-up and cool-down, working at an intensity that keeps your pulse in your target heart zone long enough to develop a training effect.
5. Don't overdo it. The biggest pitfall is rushing into a springtime fitness program and trying to do too much too soon, before your body is strong or flexible enough to handle the challenge. Take your time. You can't pick up this spring where you left off last summer. If you push too hard, you'll get injured.
6. Make it fun. Find out what's fun for you fun as in playful, active, enjoyable and do it. If it's a classic aerobic sport like running, biking or swimming, that's great. But if fun for you means ballroom dancing or bowling or exploring new neighborhoods with your backpack and your dog, then go for it.
7. Be patient. Fitness isn't something you do three times a week. It's a lifestyle, a series of choices you make every day that promote health and wellness and help you deal with pain and stress. Developing a healthier lifestyle takes time. There are no shortcuts or quick fixes, no pills or potions. Stop looking for answers outside yourself. You are the answer.