The following is a guest post written by Charlie Alf from backpackhack.com
How long ago was it when you stood in front of the mirror in your bathroom or bedroom and said, “Today is the day I am going to start getting fit!” Seems like forever, I bet. Every person who has started their journey towards a healthier, fitter body has been in your shoes. Not knowing anything about nutrition, working out, or even calories, you hop on the crash diet train and derail over and over.
Fortunately, by the end of this article, you are going to know exactly how to first find the right motivation and how to get in shape. For real this time.
Get Your Act Together
You know what that means. If you are going to make the chance, you need to be in this completely, heart and soul. No doubts. No regrets. In order to do that, more thought has to go into your motivation than just wanting to look good. You need a thorough reason, a goal, that is going to drive you further and further until you not only crush that goal, you succeed repeatedly from here on out.
It might sound inconceivable right now, but once you consider these reasons to get fit, nothing will feel more dire:
- Exercise decreases hypertension which is positively correlated to high-fat, high-sugar diets and sedentary lifestyles.
- You lower your risk of diabetes and obesity, both of which shave valuable years off your life. Plus, you increase lean body mass while reducing body fat. When these two factors are more balanced, you are much healthier, and your system is more balanced.
- Exercise keeps the bones strong. Sedentary lifestyles can induce brittle bones, so keep moving to save your body from literally breaking down.
- Feeling tired? Exercise more. Laying around doing nothing and eating nutritionally devoid foods is actually more draining than bouts of exercise.
- In fact, you will not only have more energy from working out, you will be in a better mood. And I am not only talking happiness over depression but being in the mood more often. Yes, exercise means better sex.
- Moderate walking has been proven to boost the brain’s memory center, lowers the stress-induced hormone, cortisol, and makes you happier.
The list could go on and on, but for brevity, it is going to be cut off here. Yet, by these tidbits alone, you can see that your health is linked to how active you are. Humans are born movers.
But if being able to extend your life and the quality of it is not enough to get you off the couch, perhaps there is another way to get you motivated.
Figure Out Your “Why”
Though you may be tempted to jump in headfirst, think about this first. How badly do you want this?
Formulate a real life goal. For example:
- “I want to be able to play with the kids or grandkids one day,”
- “I want to be independent when I’m older,”
- “I want to be able to climb Mt. Everest,”
- “I want to complete a charity marathon and honor someone dear to me,”
- “I want to recover or holistically treat a mental or physical disorder or disease.”
Write it down. Use it as a mantra. Hang it up on the refrigerator, bedroom wall, and anywhere else you will be reminded of your goal.
Choose Activities That Are Fun
Something that gets you involved both physically and mentally is going to feel a lot more rewarding than schlepping through an internet search generated workout.
Choose what makes you smile. Hiking, dancing, biking, swimming, tai chi, and kickboxing are all valid forms of exercise. As long as you are having fun, you will stick with it. Also, do not fret about “going hard or going home.” If you cannot do much yet, simply walking around for 30 minutes a day is the perfect way to getting started.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), alongside internationally known fitness associations like NASM, ACSM, and ACE, have all declared that adults should get at least 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of moderate-intensity exercise per week. This does not have to be done all in one shot, so never say you do not have time. 10 minute bursts of activity throughout the day actually burn more calories than an extended, steady state workout while boosting productivity and creativity.
Once you have started, keep the momentum going by investing time in physical activities that you enjoy. Motivate yourself by knowing the importance of your health and how working out will reshape you and your life for the better. Stay strong. You got this.
Charlie Alf is a avid hiker and loves nature and is always on the lookout for the next adventure, when his not hiking he likes to woodwork and fix things.If you liked this article, be sure to check out his other great articles on backpackhack.com