I don't know about you, but I have a great feeling about 2015! There's just something in the air -- positive energy, a buzz of excitement -- and it's got me entering the year with unbridled enthusiasm. I love January because it's resolution time, and like many of us, I often resolve to include more fitness in my life for the coming year.
But lately I've been thinking, what's the secret to sticking with fitness goals? Twenty two per cent of people who make health and wellness resolutions follow them all year. What are they doing differently than the ones who don't? I think it comes down to looking at resolutions as part of the big picture. After all, it's not just about exercise; fitness is an overall mindful attitude. It's about being good to yourself, taking care of YOU and giving your body what it needs to thrive. And, as my friend and Olympic gymnast Nastia Liukin says, what you put into your body matters. It's your energy source and don't you want to fuel your body with the best things possible?
Now, I'm not a fitness guru; I'm just a regular girl who is trying to do the best she can in this busy world. I understand that exercise uses energy and helps our bodies run better, just like food does. And when we're fuelling ourselves with healthy foods, our mood improves and that leads to more feelings of fulfillment, balance, happiness and confidence. Fitness resolutions are just as great because they bring attention to our physical well-being, but they can often become something we do only in January and then forget about. Like most people, sometimes I have trouble maintaining my fitness goals all year, so I'd like to share some tips that help me get back on track. I hope they will work for you too!
Stay on track by keeping track.
Fitbit is a wireless activity tracker that you wear on your wrist like a futuristic watch without the face. It can monitor your fitness, food, weight and sleep. And I find it so motivating! I even feel guilty if I haven't completed all my 10,000 steps. And I am encouraged to wake up in the morning and walk...everywhere. Movo Wave is another wearable fitness tracker that comes with a great (read: low) price tag. It's a no frills type of tracker, which is perfect for the person who wants to get moving but doesn't necessarily need detailed monitoring.
Spice things up by shaking things up.
I love these new studio gyms that are popping up everywhere, like Hard Candy Fitness with locations all over the world and 305 Fitness in New York. They allow me to try all sorts of different classes, which adds a great diversity to my fitness regime and helps prevent me from getting bored or stagnant. At Hard Candy you can take the signature "Addicted to Sweat" dance cardio class, which is based on choreography from Madonna's videos and performances. I haven't tried it yet but I recently went to my first dance cardio class at 305 and loved it!
A strong core is key.
Exercise doesn't have to be about running a marathon or working up a huge sweat at the gym. It can be about mindful, core-strengthening training like pilates and yoga...or whatever feels right to YOU. I discovered Reformer pilates through one of my favourite studios in Toronto, Ultimate Athletics, and it is my new favourite workout. Using special machines that adds resistance to create a full-body workout, it strengthens your core and improves your posture. Building this kind of strength is one of the fundamentals of fitness; Harvard Medical School refers to our body's core as the "central link in a chain connecting your upper and lower body" and says that a flexible core underpins everything you do.
Hold yourself accountable by sharing your progress.
Sharing your fitness journey on social media is a great way to motivate others, but it's also one of the best ways to hold yourself accountable. Your followers will see your resolution posts, and your progress posts, and they'll notice if you stop posting! My girlfriend Bunmi started a Tumblr page called Erryday Fitness where she does a different work out every day of the week, and I think it's such a great way for her (and me) to stick with our resolutions. Some of the things she's tried include Stretch and Roll at BarreWorks, Kayla Itsines' Full Body home workout, an outdoor run, skating at Nathan Phillips Square...even sex! She refers to a New York Times article on "Sex as Exercise" as scientific proof of this workout :) Bunmi's blog is full of fun ideas for hitting your fitness goals - check it out!
Treat diet and exercise like a prescription.
If your doctor told you to take your medicine because it will cure what ails you, wouldn't you take it? So how come so many of us don't eat well or exercise when we ALL know we should? Countless studies have shown it's integral to being healthy and yet there are one BILLION obese people in the developed world today! I feel like if doctors started prescribing things like eating our fruits and veggies or doing 30 minutes of physical fitness a day, then maybe we would take it more seriously.
There's strength in numbers.
It's a lot easier to stick to your fitness resolutions if you have a friend doing them with you. But there are lots of ways you can find support for your goals even outside the gym. Next time you're going on a date, for instance, why not suggest a walk? It's my favourite thing to do and it's so romantic because you actually get to talk to one another. Strolling in conversation is a great way to get to know a new love, and get fit at the same time. And if it's cold...cuddle close! Your Fitbit will be happy too! :)
It's important to find your motivation no matter what your fitness resolution may be. For me, it's my overall well-being, but it's also about one of my favourite things - fashion :). I know that might sound funny! But I love fashion and I want my clothes to fit well so I exercise and eat healthily (no processed foods at all so far this year). This spring will be the season of the long slit so you can be sure I am getting my legs -- and my core -- ready!
What is your motivation? How do you stick to your fitness goals? Leave your comments below or tweet me at @NatashaNKPR.
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