Ready to get healthy and fit in 2017? If so, you’re not alone. Getting healthy by working out and/or losing weight are the top New Year’s resolutions almost every year in the United States.
As an added bonus, incorporating exercise into your daily life can be a boon to your ability to avoid relapse and help you to improve other areas of your life that are in key focus in recovery. Regular workouts can:
- Make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep
- Improve your overall mood
- Increase your ability to handle acute stressors
- Improve your self-esteem
- Provide a positive structure to your free time
- Improve your physical health
All of this serves to make you a more balanced, healthy, and confident person, which in turn makes it less likely that you will feel that the only coping mechanism available to you during times of intense stress is alcohol or drugs.
Not sure how to make it happen? Here are 10 ways to incorporate exercise into your daily life and meet your health and recovery resolution goals in 2017:
1. Do what you like. Do you hate the gym? Is running your idea of torture? Then, don’t bother trying to force yourself to turn these activities into your daily exercise routine. Instead, pick physical activities that you enjoy doing: playing a sport, running around with the dog at the park, or dancing to your favorite play list. If you enjoy the activity, you’re more likely to keep doing it, and consistency is everything.
2. Grab a workout whenever you can. If you have an extra two minutes, park farther away from the restaurant or store. If you have an extra five minutes, run up and down the stairs a few times. If you have an extra seven minutes, grab a quick workout using a 7-minute workout app. You do not have to work out for 30 minutes consecutively to get benefits from exercise. Take a few minutes here and there throughout the day, and try to reach 30 minutes as you have time.
3. Incentivize yourself. Did you get up and get moving every day this week? Great! Reward yourself! Make it a non-food reward that doesn’t ruin the progress you made while working out and that allows you to relax. Think getting a massage, taking a nap when you ordinarily wouldn’t, or going to see a movie in the middle of the day – something you enjoy.
4. Work out right after waking up. In order to make sure that nothing gets in the way of your goals, make the first thing you do in the morning after waking a workout. Even if you are not a morning person, there’s something to be said for getting up and immediately checking something big off your to-do list.
5. Change it up. Getting on the treadmill one day, doing a kickboxing workout the next, jamming to your favorite music for an hour the next day, or thoroughly scrubbing the house from top to bottom the day after that – all of these activities constitute a workout. Keeping things fresh can help you to keep working out even when you don’t feel like it.
6. Multitask. Do you have too much on your to-do list to get in a full workout by itself every day? Multitask by walking on a treadmill while reading or listening to podcasts, do isometric exercises while you drive, and pace while you talk on the phone.
7. Turn work into a workout. Eight hours a day – or more – you may be on your feet or sitting at your desk, but there’s no reason that you can’t get your workout in while you’re working. Stand at your desk, go for a walk or jog at lunchtime, or use your 15-minute breaks to do a 7-minute workout.
8. Work out with a friend. When you have a buddy working out with you, you are more likely to show up, be on time, be thorough, and stick with it. Plus, it makes the time go by more quickly when you have someone to talk to.
9. Work toward a fitness goal. Create a specific workout plan to follow or make some simple goals that will help you stay motivated. To help you see your progress more visibly, make your goals about your behaviors. That is, you can set the goal to do a different workout every day, hit an exercise class every other day, or join an adult sports league to hit your goals.
10. Track your progress. As you make progress toward your goals, keep track in a way that is big, visible, and inspiring. You might, for example, get a big desk-sized month calendar to hang on the wall and mark down what you did to work out, when, and for how long. When you can see how well you have been doing and how far you have come, you are more likely to stick with your goals.
What workout goals will you incorporate into your recovery in 2017?