Less than a quarter of Americans meet national physical activity guidelines, says a new report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month; what better time to focus on being active and becoming healthier!
If you’re thinking about making some lifestyle changes, consider these 10 simple fitness tips.
1. Value Variety
Stave off boredom and work out all parts of your body by adding variety to your workouts.
- Increase reps while using lighter weights or do fewer reps with heavy weights.
- Try one new exercise every few weeks or exercise in different places, like a gym, outdoors or a yoga studio.
2. Turn on the Tunes
If you exercise in silence and find yourself counting down the minutes left, music can help pass the time. It boosts energy levels and motivates during repetitive activities.
3. Drink Up!
For your body to perform at a high level, you must stay hydrated.
- Keep a water bottle nearby throughout the day.
- Men should drink about 15.5 cups of fluids and women about 11.5 cups a day. 1
4. Don’t Skimp on Carbs
Carbohydrates are the main fuel source for your muscles, brain and body. Going too low can drain energy and cause fatigue.
- The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that carbohydrates make up 45 to 65 percent of your total daily calories. 2
- Choose vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and low-fat dairy as sources of carbohydrates. Limit foods with added sugars and refined grains, like sugary drinks, desserts and candy. They’re packed with calories but low in nutrition.
5. Go for Intense Bursts
To add fun to your workout routine without adding time, try high-intensity interval training (HIIT).
- HIIT training can be done anywhere. You don’t even need any equipment.
- Sprint, jump rope or do something you can keep up for one to three minutes intensely. Then stop and let your heart rate lower for two minutes.
- For an intense workout, repeat three to four times.
6. Add Resistance
We often forget the value of strength training for fat loss. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends that adults do strengthening exercises at least two days per week. This can include weight lifting, pushups and sit-ups.
7. Focus on Fun
The biggest key to preventing exercise burnout is to do activities that give you pleasure. The more you enjoy something, the more often you’re going to do it.
8. Monitor Intensity
Start slow and work your way up to challenging yourself a bit more each day. In the beginning stages of fitness, don't push yourself too hard. This can lead to soreness, injuries and losing interest in exercise.
9. Keep a Journal
Track your exercise sessions in a journal to enhance your success. It also helps hold yourself accountable and keeps you motivated. If you’re also trying to improve your eating habits, record what you eat as well.
10. Plan and Commit
The old saying that “failing to plan means planning to fail” can also apply to exercise. Commit to a lifestyle change!
QualChoice Can Help
For help with improving your diet or other well-being goals, call 501.228.7111 or 800.235.7111 and ask to speak to a QCARE Health Coach.*
*Programs vary by group and benefit plan. Check with your health plan administrator to see if QCARE benefits are included with your plan.