Creating Healthy Habits in the New Year

By Nicole YarwaskyFamily Walking In The Park

Corporate Fitness

As the New Year approaches many people decide to make exercising a New Year’s resolution. More often than not, over-ambitious goals are created and as January comes to an end, so does the exercising. Instead of creating resolutions this year, create healthy habits.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“How Much Physical Activity”, 2011) recommend that adults preform a minimum of 150 minutes per week of moderate physical activity (If you are able to talk, but not sing while performing the activity your intensity is moderate). Note that the recommendation uses the word physical activity rather than exercise. Some of the many examples of moderate physical activity include, but are not limited to, ballroom and line dancing, biking on level ground, canoeing, general gardening, brisk walking, water aerobics or sports like baseball, softball, and volleyball.

Here are some tips to create healthy habits this New Year:

  • Make your exercise goals reasonable. If you haven’t been doing very much exercise, slowly start increasing the amount of time you designate.
  • Don’t go all in at once or you’ll risk injury. Gradually work up your pace and don’t get discouraged if you have to take a break.
  • Look for ways to include more physical activity in your day, such as taking the stairs, parking further away, or taking a walk instead of eating dessert. Try adding 10 minutes at a time. Research has shown that moderate physical activity done in 10 minute segments throughout the day boasts the same effects as one single 20 minute bout.
  • Make physical activity fun. Pick exercises and activities that you enjoy doing. Including your family and friends into your new routine can also increase your enjoyment.
  • Most importantly, don’t forget to celebrate your successes big and small!

Including regular physical activity into your life boosts other positive affects as well. People who are physically active tend to feel less tension, anxiety, depression and anger. Regular physical activity can also boost your immune system and decrease the risk of developing cancer and heart disease by lowering blood pressure and increasing good cholesterol. (“Physical Activity”, 2013)

Here is a chart that shows various activities and the approximate calories expended while doing them.

Physical Activity and Calories: The chart below shows the approximate calories spent per hour by a 100, 150 and 200 pound person doing a particular activity.

Caloric Chart

Remember, a little bit of something is always better than nothing. Moderation is the key to everything, so make sure to set goals that are realistic and attainable for you. Starting a new routine can be life changing, so embrace the challenge. As practitioners, we hope your efforts that are started in the beginning of the year are carried out all year, and the year after, and the year after that!

References:

How much physical activity do adults need? (2011). Retrieved December 11, 2013. http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/guidelines/adults.html

Physical activity improves quality of life. (2013). Retrieved December 11, 2013 from http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/PhysicalActivity/StartWalking/Physical-activity-improves-quality-of-life_UCM_307977_Article.jsp

About the Author:

Nicole Yarwasky was born and raised in the Bay Area. She has a strong passion for health and wellness for people of all ages and she believes fitness can be fun for everyone! She is an avid Bay Area sports fan and goes to as many baseball games as she can. Her favorite quote is: “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” by Mark Twain.

While receiving her B.S. in Kinesiology with a Minor in Gerontology at Cal Poly, SLO in 2008, she played Division 1 basketball. Nicole then went on to receive her M.S. in Kinesiology from CSU East Bay in 2012.

 

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