You’ve made a New Year’s resolution to be more physically active, but upping the fitness ante can be one of the hardest goals to stick with as the days go on through the year. After months of being relatively sedentary, jumping into an ambitious workout program often results in muscle pains and strains that can squelch enthusiasm and quickly derail fitness goals.
Laurie Towers, former professional bodybuilder, top New York City celebrity trainer and CEO of Physical Advantage PC, offers the following suggestions for keeping health and fitness a top priority throughout the year.
- Walk or bike to work, or get off a stop or two early on a bus/subway trip to help jump start your metabolism and engage in a bit of functional fitness.
- Take the steps instead of the elevator. “Walking up and down the stairs burns many more calories than hitting the ‘up’ button,” says Towers. “Of course, this applies only if there are no specific limitations placed on your joints by your MD.”
- Rather than linger over brunch, lunch, or dinner, invite a friend to take a walk on the weekends instead.
- Bring your food to the office to ensure portion control and to know exactly what ingredients you are eating.
- Employ the buddy system for your workouts. You are far more likely to work out if you know someone else is relying on you.
- Cut calories without losing sacrificing taste by substituting sugar with healthier sweeteners when you are cooking or in coffee and tea, such as honey, maple syrup, agave, or stevia.
- Set realistic goals that will let you become your own cheerleader and will continue all year long.
- Remember that it is perfectly natural to allow yourself a “cheat” day and indulge in the less-than-healthy foods you crave. The key is to use that day as a reward for a well-balanced nutritional investment you abide by the rest of the week.