Fitness Tips for Life: How to Make Health and Fitness a Lifestyle

Triggers are simply reminders—a time of day, place, or cue—that kick off an automatic reaction. They put your routine on autopilot, so there’s nothing to think about or decide on. The alarm clock goes off and you’re out the door for your walk. You leave work for the day and head straight to the gym. You spot your sneakers right by the bed and you’re up and running. Find ways to build them into your day to make exercise a no-brainer.

Nancy was a Top 50 Finalist for the Varkey Global Teacher Prize 2015. She is the 2013 recipient of the Kennedy Center/Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Award and the 2013 Boston Red Sox Most Valuable Educator Award.

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Keep in mind that exercise recommendations are not one-size-fits-all, so it may take some time to figure out what you need, what you enjoy and what works for you. If you have any health conditions that could affect your exercise routine, be sure to speak with your health care provider before starting a new regimen. Here’s what to know about how to start exercising for overall better health. You don’t need to go on a 45-minute run or lift weights for an hour to have a beneficial workout.

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One way to do this is to start with a plan of easy steps to follow. Then you can continue building on it as your fitness level improves. If your workout is unpleasant or makes you feel clumsy or inept, you’re unlikely to stick with it. Don’t choose activities like running or lifting weights at the gym just because you think that’s what you should do. Instead, pick activities that fit your lifestyle, abilities, and taste. People who exercise regularly tend to do so because of the rewards it brings to their lives, such as more energy, better sleep, and a greater sense of well-being.

Open your mind to what fitness can look like.

Try smaller “exercise snacks” throughout the day, take the stairs as much as you can, or better yet, set a goal to do a few short high-intensity interval workouts. After just a few days of inactivity, the volume of blood plasma circulating in your body decreases, Dr. Coyle said, leading to a series of other cardiovascular changes. Walking is a great way to get your body moving without getting overwhelmed. Plus, you can add  15 minutes of walking to your daily routine even if you’ve never exercised before — it’s that easy. Fifteen minutes may not seem like a lot of time to you, but fitness experts and scientific studies agree that it’s enough to make a difference. If you’re new to fitness or haven’t been active in a long time, a short, 15-minute workout may be best to start with anyway.

I’d highly recommend Spark to any teacher or parent interested in how exercise and the brain coincide. It will soon become clear that providing students with challenging fitness programs has numerous benefits. Starting slow, finding social support, mixing up activities, and keeping to a routine is a prescription for both brain and body health. Your goal should be to do some type of exercise every day. It is best to do some kind of aerobic activity without stopping for at least 20 to 30 minutes each time. Do the activity as often as possible, but don’t exercise to the point of pain.

You should feel stretching in the area above your heels. If it’s twice a week, try to add a third day and see how it goes. Use the “FITT” principle of exercise — frequency, intensity, time, and type — to guide you. If your highest priority is mental health, research shows you might not even need to meet the minimum recommendations.

Doing so can help prevent injuries and improve your athletic performance. Replenishing fluids during exercise is essential for maintaining optimal performance, especially when exercising in hot temperatures. A review of studies concluded that replacing an unhealthy behavior with a new healthier habit is an excellent approach to maintaining it in the long term. Another key component of exercise success is to stick to your routine. Instead of driving everywhere, walk or bike instead when the distance is doable.

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