As the year draws to a close, many of us are making mental notes about what we didn’t achieve this year and what we want to achieve in 2022. That list may often involve improving our fitness, improving our health or losing a few kilos.
So, as you are drawing up your list, there are three things you should consider.
- It is important to understand why exercise is good for you and why you want to make a change. Referring back to your ‘why’ may help you keep going during periods of low motivation.
- Set small achievable daily goals. This will give you positive reinforcement to keep going.
- Follow the 10% rule. (See Tip 3. below)
Tip 1. Why is exercise good for you?
There are many benefits to regular exercise that you may not have considered. Knowing these may help keep you motivated and on track.
- Slow the ‘ageing’ process
- Increase your strength, power and endurance
- Change your body composition; decreasing fat and increasing your muscle mass
- Increase your well-being and happiness
- Enhance brain health and your ability to think clearly
- Improve the quality of your sleep
Exercise is medicine because it can:
- Help you maintain a healthy weight
- Lower your blood pressure
- Increase your life expectancy
- Help to minimise the risk of many diseases such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and stroke, to name a few.
Tip 2. To be successful, know your limits and set small achievable daily goals
Setting small and achievable goals is the key to maintaining the habit of regular exercise. There will be times when you are unable to exercise or have low motivation. So it is important to set goals that you can achieve, even on your busiest days. We call this, setting the ‘minimum viable exercise’ (MVE). When you are consistently able to achieve your MVE goal, you will feel a sense of accomplishment and this will help you create a healthy habit that can last a lifetime.
Walking or running twice a week for 20 minutes is an example of an MVE goal. While it’s far more tempting to set an ambitious goal of walking or running 5 times a week for 30 minutes, if you set an MVE goal that you know you can achieve, you are more likely to feel a sense of accomplishment when you achieve your goal. This feeling of success will encourage you to keep your exercise routine on track.
Tip 3. The 10% rule
Injuries occur when people overload their bodies and do too much exercise too soon. This is particularly relevant as we grow older – about 45 years and over. Young people cope with big changes in the loading of their bodies, because their muscles, joints and ligaments are more flexible and heal more rapidly. With age, our flexibility decreases and our muscles and tissues lose the ability to adapt quickly to different stresses and loading declines. They can adapt – they just need more time as we grow older.
The 10 % rule states that you increase your exercise loading by no more than 10% a week. This way, you are far more likely to be injury free and actually achieve your goals.
The 10% rule is a good guide to help you know how to increase your exercise and reduce your likelihood of overuse and overloading injuries.
This video contains an easy exercise that can be done just about anywhere. It will add to your overall fitness, improve the strength in your legs and can be done without having to get on the floor.
At Move Better for Life, our focus is on keeping you fit and healthy. If you’re in pain, feeling unmotivated or looking to improve your overall wellbeing, we are here for you. Our team of physiotherapists, occupational therapists and exercise physiologists will help you achieve your physical health goals.
Depending on the current circumstances, we can assist you within the comfort of your own home or face-to-face.
Make a change today by clicking here.