This Friday, February 1st is National Wear Red Day®, a day that kicks of the American Heart Association's Heart Health Month and the Go Red for Women campaign. This campaign aims to educate and remind us that heart disease is the number one killer among women. Whether heart disease is inherited or not, the American Heart Association teaches us that there are several things we can do to protect ourselves, including eating healthy foods, getting our cholesterol checked, and of course, exercising. The U.S. Surgeon General recommends 150 minutes per week of high intensity exercise or 300 minutes, moderate intensity.
You may be asking yourself, "How can I motivate myself to exercise that much? I know I made the resolution to exercise more, but life just gets in the way. And, really, exercise is so boring."
Here are three motivational tips to help you adhere to your exercise resolution.
#1 Find a physical activity you truly love. This is the most important step you can take. Try something new. There are so many options to choose from nowadays: Yoga, Pilates, Zumba Fitness, belly, ballroom, or salsa dancing, kick boxing, swimming, biking or hiking with the kids. If you don't like gyms, no problem. Look in the Walnut Creek Recreation's Program Guide (or your community center's catalog). There are so many fun and interesting classes offered throughout the year.
#2 Be specific when making goals, and track your activity either on paper or with one of the new high tech pedometers that track everything from steps to calories to sleep. Seeing your accomplishments strengthens your resolve. Keep it simple so you will always have time to track.
#3 Positive Self-Talk. Being positive has profound effects on intentions and actions. Telling yourself you're too tired to work out after a long day is an easy bad habit to make. But how about following up that thought with, "I always feel better after a workout and I will feel proud that I stuck with it." Learning how to develop positive self-talk can have broad implications for other areas of your life.
One of the biggest tactics to adhering to an exercise program is motivation, motivation from within. Needing to lose weight or reduce cholesterol are examples of extrinsic motivation. In order to effect a change from extrinsic to intrinsic motivation, one needs only find and develop the motivator within. The three tips I have outlined above are three of the most important steps you can take to effect this change. And don't forget to wear red on Friday. More information about this campaign can be found at GoRedforWomen.org.
Janice Litvin is a Fitness Educator and Zumba Instructor kicking off her Go Red for Women activity challenge this Friday. More information can be found at ZumbaContraCosta.com.