With the unseasonably mild weather we’ve had recently, many people have gotten outside to take advantage before Old Man Winter makes his return to remind us that spring is still a few a month or so away. But you shouldn’t need Mother Nature to give you a kick in the pants to stay active. This is always a dangerous time of the year for many, as the days still are short (though thankfully growing longer) and therefore the motivation to continue staying active becomes a struggle. And if you are one of those brave souls who made a resolution to lose weight, eat better, or to just get moving more, odds are you are hanging by a thread if you haven’t completely fallen off the wagon by now. Rather than give up, look at spring as the perfect time to get started. Here are a few simple tips that will help get you back on track and feeling healthier:
- Anything is better than nothing. Being active doesn’t mean you have to turn your life upside down. Most of us don’t realize how easy it is to make the necessary changes. Go for a 30-minute walk a few times a week. Get up from your desk a few more times a day. Get off the couch for one less hour a night. Living an active life doesn’t take all that much activity.
- Don’t be afraid to try something new. One of the reasons so many people fall off the tracks of the “health train” is that they keep doing the same thing and are expecting different results. Getting stuck in neutral makes it impossible to accelerate. Plus, taking on a new activity not only challenges you physically but mentally as well, which is essential for self-motivation.
- Use what technology has to offer. With the proliferation of wrist-based fitness trackers and mobile apps, there are countless tools available to help you stay the course. Not only do these gadgets track invaluable data, but more importantly, they help keep you accountable – to yourself AND to your boastful co-workers who never fail to let you know how many steps they’ve taken each and every day.
- Find a routine and stick to it. Those people who find the holy grail of staying fit and active will tell you that they don’t find time to be active; they make time to be active. We have way too many distractions in our daily lives to honestly expect to commit to being active with an “I’ll fit it in if I can” approach. If it helps put it on your calendar and make it as much of a priority as you would an office meeting, a family commitment or a daily chore.
- Don’t be so hard on yourself. You’ve done the hard part by just getting started and doing your best to keep it going. That’s much more than a lot of people can say. Make realistic goals and reward yourself when you’ve reached them, be it a time-based goal (run a 5K in 12 weeks) or a performance-based one (run a 5K in under one hour). Having impossible expectations and failing to achieve those leads to self-criticism and may eventually derail your “health train.”