4 Easy Ways to Make Exercise Consistent
Let's face it - being active is a vital tool in facilitating a generally healthy lifestyle. Exercise has proven benefits, not just for our bodies, but to our brains as well. Exercise improves our abilities to handle stress, improve our quality of sleep, and keeps cravings at bay. As much as some would like to avoid it, we need to move our bodies. We don't have to strive to be Olympic Athletes, but we should strive to keep our bodies functional and pain-free.
According to US Department of Health and Human Services, it is important for us to participate in at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise each week to facilitate a healthy lifestyle.
Almost every industry in the healthcare continuum uses exercise in some way, shape, or form to facilitate recovery from acute or chronic trauma to the body.
An effective way to heal quickly and safely is doing prescribed exercises as consistently as one would take an antibiotic. After all, the body responds to most things over time and with consistency.
At ProActive Spine Care, we also understand the importance of proper, safe, and convenient exercise for the recovery of musculoskeletal complaints such as back pain, neck pain, headaches, rotator cuff injuries, arthritis and disc issues, and post-surgical recovery. In fact, we research and pioneer better and easier exercise strategies for patient care – especially for core exercise, back exercise, and neck exercise. Properly done, good exercise efforts reduce risk of injury, and help pain and injuries recover without residual hidden weakness.
Other benefits include combatting fatigue, improving depression and mental outlook, improving sleep, improving brain function, and fighting back against aging.
The American Council on Exercise ( www.acefitness.org) provides these 4 strategies as proven ways to facilitate a behavior change to exercise consistently – and we agree!
150 minutes a week seems like a lot of time to devote to exercise, so consider breaking this big goal into smaller, more manageable goals. 150 minutes can be broken down to 5, 30-minute sessions a week. This goal can be further broken down into 3, 10-minute sessions per day. By doing a 10-minute stretch/balance routine in the morning, a 10 minute walk after lunch, and a 10 minute walk after dinner during the week, that goal of 150 minutes a week seems more manageable.
Keep it simple
Even though exercise is a physical challenge, changing the behavior is a mental game. Beginning an exercise program that is difficult or complicated will make you less likely to stick with it. If you're a beginner, getting basic cardio by walking is enough to facilitate a lifestyle change. As you build confidence in your ability to maintain the habit for 3-4 weeks, then consider upping the ante in your exercise routine to reduce boredom. At ProActive Spine Care, we help you stay focused on the most important things to do to streamline your efforts and improve your results.
Make it an appointment
In the age of smartphones being a permanent fixture in our pockets or purses, it is easier than ever to keep exercise at the forefront of our mind. Using the phone's calendar app, you can create an appointment with a reminder. Setting an appointment gives yourself a mental reminder to make exercise your priority for that said amount of time. This appointment can be repeated as many times per week facilitating that habit. Maintaining a focus on a series of “exercise appointments” helps you with a longer-term focus and developing the habit of exercise.
Changing a behavior is very difficult to do without the help and support of your family or a group of like-minded friends and/or co-workers. Make your intentions to get active known to those closest to you, and recruit them to join you. Accountability will keep you going on those days where life mentally drains you. Having support from your significant other makes keeping plans to get active feasible when small children are involved; they get the kids ready for bed while you do your walk or workout after dinner can be a game-changer in facilitating that habit. If you don’t have children, consider sharing a walk with them as a way to unwind; that can be a great way to strengthen your bond!
ProActive Spine Care supports consistent exercise as an important tool in maintaining musculoskeletal health. We help people target the right exercises and approaches for better results. And we help move people past old-school and misunderstood exercises like simple planks for the core, and into easier and more realistic approaches.
If pain is inhibiting your ability to move in any way, ProActive Spine Care seamlessly blends chiropractic care, massage therapy, pain relief strategies like laser photo-biostimulation, and corrective exercise to get you back on track to pain-free movement.
Call our office at 253-564-1288 to set up your consultation today for pain or injury care, or for information about stepping up into a better fitness plan.
About the Authors:
Beth Lazarou is a NASM certified personal trainer and corrective exercise specialist, as well as an ACE certified health coach and group fitness instructor. She works with Dr. McMillin to facilitate safe exercise for patients at ProActive Spine Care including better basic activation techniques and dynamic upright core endurance techniques as a certified CentriForce coach.
Dr. Austin McMillin is a chiropractic physician, and injury/rehabilitation specialist. He is the director of ProActive Spine Care as well as Tacoma Laser Center, where the focus is to provide leading-edge drug-free and surgery-free care approaches for muscle and joint pain conditions, spine injuries such as disc herniations and whiplash, and better functional fitness.