One of the greatest aspects of working at a University is the abundance of resources at your fingertips. Resources to help educate, to inspire change as a community, and to support the growth and evolution of the individual. This week we are fortunate enough to have a guest author to share her insights and to empower our readers to achieve the goals they have set for themselves.
Jennifer Turpin, M.A., is the Assistant Director for Fitness and Wellness and an adjunct instructor at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. Her professional experience includes fitness and health education, worksite health promotion, physical activity epidemiology, group fitness and personal training. She is a certified Exercise Physiologist through the American College of Sports Medicine and holds additional certifications and trainings from the American Council on Exercise. Jennifer is a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT 200) through Yoga Alliance and a National Presenter for The National Exercise Trainers Association (NETA). She earned her master’s degree in Exercise Science & Health Promotion from The Ohio State University. Jennifer is passionate about helping others live healthier lives through the adoption and maintenance of positive health behaviors
Four Tips to Help You Stick to Your Exercise Plan this Year
By Jennifer Turpin
Happy New Year! For many of us, this time of year symbolizes a time for new beginnings, new opportunities and a time to…ahem…finally start taking our health more seriously. If weight loss or more exercise is on your list of New Year’s resolutions, you’re not alone. Losing weight and “getting fit” are among the top five New Year’s resolutions every year. Millions of Americans will start an exercise program this month, but most will quit within the first six months. Why? Lack of time, feeling too tired and family commitments are some of the top reasons people stop exercising.
This year, don’t let excuses weigh you down (…no pun intended). – Follow these tips from the American College of Sports Medicine to create a personal exercise plan that you can stick to all year long and beyond.
1. Set aside time each day to exercise. Getting started is sometimes the hardest part of an exercise program. Try scheduling in your morning fitness walks or favorite group fitness classes. Research shows that you’re more likely to stick to your exercise endeavors if you plan for them.
2. Choose activities that you enjoy. If you hate running, don’t run. Explore aerobic activities that you enjoy doing, and before long, you’ll be looking forward to your workouts! Physical activity can be accumulated throughout the day, and several 10 minute bouts of exercise can render the same health benefits as one long, continuous exercise session. So, if you’re short on time, break your exercise sessions into smaller segments throughout the day. For example, a 10 minute dance party before work (don’t be shy…) and a 20 minute walk during your lunch break could be combined to meet the recommendation of accumulating 30 minutes of daily moderate – intensity exercise.
3. Start with 10-15 minutes. If you’re not currently getting any exercise, try starting with a short bout of exercise each day. Add five minutes to your exercise sessions each week until you reach 30 minutes. Thirty minutes of daily (5 days or more) moderately-intense
exercise is recommended for general health. If your goal is weight loss, you’ll want to work up to 60-90 minutes over time.
4. Incorporate strength training into your exercise routine. Aerobic exercise such as fitness walking, dancing, swimming, etc. will make your heart and lungs stronger and will reduce your risk for many chronic illnesses such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. However, you’ll need to do resistance exercise (strength training) to improve muscular fitness. Resistance training will also improve bone density and body composition (fat weight vs. lean weight). Do eight to 10 strength training exercises, eight to 12 repetitions of each exercise twice a week. This can be accomplished by using dumbbells, resistance bands or your own body weight. If you are unsure how to perform the exercises correctly, seek the advice of an exercise professional.
(Adapted from, Exercise is Medicine: Starting an Exercise Program, www.exerciseismedicine.org)
Regular exercisers avoid the “I’ll start tomorrow” type of thinking. So, instead of planning to start your exercise program when you have the time, Make the time, and start as soon as you can. If you have medical or health concerns, seek the advice of your physician or health care professional. Above all, if you fall off the wagon tomorrow, next week or two months from now, don’t give up! Regroup, and get back on track. To learn more about starting an exercise program, go to www.exerciseismedicine.org or visit the CDC’s physical activity page at www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity .