UPDATE – NEW YOU AVAILABLE, VERSION 2015
By Christine Doblar, PT
Nothing inspires a fresh start on health and fitness quite like the promise of a New Year. It is an opportunity to take action on our best intentions and to finally be the person that we truly aspire to be. The healthy, vital, and thriving you buried within is desperate to be released. In early January, we tend to give ourselves the freedom to step back, slow down, and reassess what kind of lifestyle we want. How exactly do we go about reclaiming and maintaining our optimal health?! You can create a new routine or merely adjust your current habits to achieve your best version of you to date.
Establish a plan to insert new habits or adjust existing habits in your day. Start by assessing the quality of your sleep, nutrition, and exercise routine. Many of us already know what specifics in each area works best for us. Often, we don’t realize we aren’t actually giving ourselves what we need in these critical categories. While wearing an activity monitor last year, a shocking data point shattered my illusion of my own daily lifestyle. Because movement is a main theme for me at work, it was a wake up call to see my 2,000 steps a day fall in the severely sedentary range. That’s a mere 20% of the 10,000 steps recommended for a healthy adult! When we track our health habits, we get a clearer picture of what is really happening with our bodies. There are a plethora of amazing tools and apps to help us monitor sleep, nutrition, activity, heart rate, and much more. Use your paper or electronic calendar of choice to schedule a solid sleep routine, with bedtimes and rising times, healthy menus and eating times, and a viable schedule for exercise.
When it comes to an exercise regime, there is no single recipe for success. A combination of aerobic exercise and muscle-strengthening activity is a good place to start. The American Heart Association and The American College of Sports Medicine recommend that adults do at least 30 minutes of moderate aerobic activity, five days per week. Moderate exercise should noticeably accelerate your heart rate. Or, one could do vigorous aerobic activity for at least 20 minutes, three days per week. Vigorous intensity will cause rapid breathing and a substantial increase in heart rate. These organizations also confirm the benefits of muscular strength training, as it increases bone strength in young adults and slows bone loss in middle age. You will want a routine that has at least one exercise for the front of your legs (quads), the back of your legs (gluts and hamstrings), your push muscles (chest, shoulders, and triceps), your pull muscles (back, biceps, and forearms), and your core (abs and lower back). You can do a full body routine, two or three times a week, that uses only five exercises. You can even do it in the comfort of your own home. Don’t hesitate to get professional help designing a unique routine. Here’s to finding your own Perfect Balance in 2015!