Healthy Living

Seven Tips to Improve Your Fitness

“There’s not enough time.”

“I’m stressed out.”

“It’s too cold outside.”

For many of us, these excuses to not exercise are all too familiar. When your day is busy and you’re running low on energy, skipping a workout may seem like the best option. But the truth is regular exercise is one of the best ways to stay healthy.

Exercise isn’t just about building bigger muscles – it’s actually a form of medicine for your body. With consistent workouts, you’ll improve balance and core strength, which will help you avoid back issues. It will also help aid digestion, improve your heart health, lower your blood pressure, boost your immune system and lower inflammation.

The American Heart Association recommends adults get 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week. You can break this down any way you want – even 10-minute blocks of exercise can benefit your health.

One thing to keep in mind is there’s a difference between physical activity and exercise. Physical activity is all general movement throughout the day, such as walking over to a coworker’s desk, folding laundry or strolling through the grocery store. Exercise is different in that it’s meaningful movement with a set expectation of intensity and duration. It’s focused on a plan that allows you to achieve an outcome. For example, a four-mile, medium-intensity walk or run.

Whether you’re new to exercise or want to get fitter, here are some tips to help you achieve your fitness goals:

  • Take it slow and steady – When you’re just starting, it’s a good idea to avoid going from zero to 60. Instead, start slow with 2-3 workouts per week. As your body adapts, you can add more workouts or higher-intensity workouts.
  • Set realistic goals – Having something to work toward will help you stay motivated to stick with your exercise routine. When setting your goal, make sure it’s specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely (SMART). For example, a goal of running a 5k race in November.
  • Be consistent – What you do during your workout matters. But even more important is that you show up. Getting in all of your workouts is what will lead to results over time.
  • Work with a personal trainer – You need to have a plan to get optimum results from your workouts. A personal trainer can help you develop one, educate you on how your body moves and identify your strengths and weaknesses.
  • Track your nutrition – Using an app, such as MyFitnessPal, can help you track your meals and snacks. This will help you gain a better handle on managing your carbs, protein, fat and other nutrients so you can see what improvements you can make to your nutrition to improve workout performance.
  • Stay hydrated – Make sure you’re drinking enough water during your workout and throughout the day. Most adults need to drink 64 ounces of water every day. On workout days, you’ll likely need a bit more.
  • Review your accomplishments – To stay motivated, think about why you started and why you’re doing this. It might help to look at progress photos and review the things you’ve accomplished since you started.

No matter what your current fitness level is, Edward-Elmhurst Health & Fitness can help you achieve your goals. Something that sets us apart from other programs is our staff’s education and experience.

To learn more about starting a fitness routine, visit an Edward-Elmhurst Health & Fitness facility