Time is of the essence these days. Work, kids, commuting, friends, community, daily tasks all add up. Taking and finding time for your body is as limited as it is essential. Your health and fitness is important to you. And, it should be. Research tells us people who are physically active and eat right live happier and more productive lives. It is science. So where to begin finding the right kind of exercise for you? There is yoga, Pilates, cycling, CrossFit, hiking, swimming, boot camp, Zumba, running, surfing, and… well, the list is long and diverse.
Choosing your exercises wisely will make all the difference. Here are a few things to consider:
- Convenience. If you are spending an hour in traffic to get an hour of exercise that may be a false economy. Find a location on your way to work or school, or walking distance from your home or office. Look at your calendar closely and fill in the gaps where a reasonable amount of time can be committed. Yes, I said committed.
- Expense. Toys are only good if you use them. Bicycles, Surfboards, skis and accessories can be very expensive. Stay in your budget and be realistic how often you are going to be able to use them and don’t be talked into buying more than you need. Gym memberships offer a variety of classes, equipment, and services and usually a monthly fee.
- Daily Demands. If you sit in your car and desk for more than 10 hours a day spinning may not be the best choice. If you are on your feet all day, a non-weight being class could be your ticket. If you are stressed, choose calming. If you are sedentary, get moving. Remember your nervous system is part of your body, too.
- Body Type. Trends and popularity in the fitness world are never ending and can influence your decision making without you knowing. Remember that one size never fits all. Consider your physical history, make attainable goals and go from there.
- Variety. Avoid doing the same thing every day. Your body is smart, and will figure out how to do what you ask with less effort each time. Confuse it. Also, repetitive movement can cause chronic pain. Injuries occur not from over training, they are caused by under training.
- Hire a Professional. Employing someone with knowledge and expertise will make all the difference. Coaching technique and proper use of equipment is critical and worth the investment. If you swam or ran in high school that memory is still there, and that 35+ year old body is not. Learn to adjust accordingly.
- Longevity. Life is a marathon, not a sprint. Whatever form of movement and exercise you choose think of how that will serve you in 10, 20, or 40 years from now. Don’t be the fastest today, be the one still doing it tomorrow.
In summary, make a conscious and realistic effort in planning your fitness and life style goals. Honor your body and treat it with kindness and respect. And most of all, have fun.
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This article originally appeared in Marin Magazine’s print edition under the headline: “Fitness Survival Tips.”