Here’s How to Achieve Your Exercise Goals in the New Year
By Joy Stephenson-Laws, JD, Founder
If you’re like most people, your New Year’s resolution includes something along the lines of exercising more or starting an exercise regimen if you’re not someone who is normally physically active.
According to one recent report, exercise-related resolutions make the top 10 list of New Year’s resolutions, however, 80 percent of resolutions to be healthier (which include exercising more) are neglected as early as the month of February.
This is not okay, and we must be proactive.
Exercise is truly a life-saver.
“Research shows that every single system in the body benefits when you are more active,” according to the report.
“You sleep better. You have more energy. You find yourself in a better mood. You think more clearly and remember better. Your bones become stronger. Your body also responds better to insulin, which lowers your risk of diabetes. And you significantly reduce your risk for many cancers. All of that is in addition to the better known weight and heart benefits of physical activity.”
Despite these relatively well-known benefits of exercise, reportedly fewer than half of American adults are as active as they should be.
Current exercise guidelines say that Americans should aim to get:
- 150 minutes (2.5 hours) to 300 minutes (5 hours) of moderate intensity exercise per week.
- 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) to 150 minutes of vigorous intensity exercise per week.
If this sounds intimidating and unattainable for your New Year’s resolution, you may be happy to know that doing small amounts of exercise and breaking up these suggested amounts of exercise is still beneficial (and perhaps) more doable and can help you lose weight and get healthier.
For example, “A 22-minute walk every day, or two 11-minute ones, would put you just over 150 minutes every week,” the report says.
“It isn't cheating to break your 150 minutes a week into small increments. In fact, even for people who are physically fit and exercise every day, breaking up periods of sitting is critically important. Even if you are getting enough exercise, sitting for the rest of the day can undo the health benefits of your workout.”
I’ve blogged about this before. Sitting (for long periods of time) has been referred to as “the new smoking,” because sitting too much has been linked to a variety of health problems including obesity, fatty liver disease, diabetes, cardiovascular problems and even premature death.
So even if you are good about attaining the recommended amounts of physical activity, you have to be mindful about sitting at your desk for too long at work. Set an alarm to get up and move and stretch every 30 minutes or so if you have a job where you sit at a desk all day.
Don’t do exercises that you hate.
Many people avoid exercising, because they think that they have to do exercises that they hate in order to reap the benefits. If you hate running, don’t do it. Walking is acceptable. Or try a kickboxing class. You may discover that you love yoga or pilates. The key is to try different things and see what makes you feel good. Exercise should be something that makes you feel good, and it can be something that you look forward to doing. I personally love golfing and going on hikes with my dogs.
A lack of time is no excuse.
Many kick their exercise regimens to the curb due to feeling like they don’t have enough hours in the day. Again, small amounts can make significant changes. You just have to fit it in when you can - take the stairs instead of the elevator, park further away from the building, coordinate walking meetings instead of sitting in the conference room, do squats while you are brushing your teeth. These are all doable and can make a difference.
The report referenced earlier mentions a great way to stick to exercise and health-related New Year’s resolutions. As I’ve said before, we must be very specific and intentional with our resolutions. You will likely not have a lot of success if you simply say, “I’m going to exercise more.”
The report recommends being SMART as in (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-based):
- Specific. For example, I am going to go on a walk every morning and take a pilates class once a week. I will achieve this by waking up 30 minutes earlier and spending less time watching TV so that I can take my weekly class.
- Measurable. Use numbers. I will go on a 20 minute walk every morning. I will stretch at work for a minute every hour. Use fitness apps and timers to track your steps and progress.
- Attainable. Set realistic goals and ease into them. If you are someone who does not exercise a lot, don’t set yourself up for failure by doing something very intense when you are just getting started. Start small and gradually increase your physical activity levels.
- Realistic. This basically plays off of attainable. Do what is realistic for YOU. If it is not likely that you will run a marathon this year like your next door neighbor (for example), that’s okay! Do what works for you, and never compare your fitness goals to other people’s.
- Time. You need to have a timeline. If you were working on a big project at work, you would have a timeline and list of smaller goals to help you get to the larger goal. It is recommended to operate in the same manner when it comes to health and fitness. Make a list of goals for each month. For example, by the end of January, maybe your goal is to stabilize your blood sugar levels or to lose four pounds.
Don’t forget nutrition.
The saying, “You can’t outtrain a bad diet,” couldn’t be more true. No matter how much you are exercising, a diet full of ultra-processed foods will definitely deter you from getting fit and healthy. Also be mindful of nutrients that can help fuel your workouts and help you recover afterwards.
Consider vitamin therapy.
Nutritional deficiencies and imbalances can actually be a major roadblock to you getting fit in 2020. Furthermore, most of us (including myself) have nutritional deficiencies and imbalances or reasons that may make us more prone to them. Read here to learn about IV vitamin drips and injections and how they can help you overcome this.
And as always, schedule routine nutrient tests in order to identify any nutrient imbalances or deficiencies you may have.
Exercising can be fun, but it is hard work. And you deserve to reward yourself (not with sweets!). Cryotherapy is a great way to help your body recover, boost your immunity, make you sleep better and more.
Enjoy your healthy life!
The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.