What is holding you back from starting a workout program? Is it fear of failure? Is it thinking you can’t do a “big” feat, like running a 5k, so why bother? Don’t let these excuses stop you anymore! Study after study has shown that all it takes is a little bit of activity to make a big difference in your overall health.
Start with Small, Attainable Goals
If you are wanting to go from a completely sedentary lifestyle to one that embraces physical activity with a fervor, then start small. Instead of saying “I am going to run a mile today,” say, “I am going to spend 15 minutes on the treadmill today.” Sure, 15 minutes may not feel like much, but it’s 15 minutes more than you did yesterday!
A Little Bit Goes a Long Way
Consider this fact: according to an American Heart Association study published in 2011, just two-and-a-half hours of moderate intensity physical activity each week can drop your risk of heart disease by as much as 14 percent. That breaks down to less than 25 minutes each day. A brisk 25 minute walk is all it takes to lower your risk of heart disease, America’s number one killer, significantly.
And that’s just one study. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found an interesting result when studying the risk of death from excess abdominal fat in men and women in Europe. In a study published in 2014, researchers followed individuals who had high levels of abdominal fat for an average of 12 years, and reported on their mortality risk and level of physical activity.
At the end of the study, researchers found that the risk of death dropped the most in the groups who reported the smallest increases in physical activity levels. In other words, when these individuals went from no exercise to a small amount of exercise, they saw a great increase in their potential longevity.
Small Changes Lead to Bigger Changes
Starting small is the best idea, because small changes lead to bigger changes. If you are completely activity-free, take a walk with the dog around the block. You will love the way it makes you feel, and after a week of walking around the block you may feel energized to take the walk twice.
Then, start setting small goals. Once you have reached those goals and began to notice changes in your health, you may find yourself pushing for higher goals. Who knows, you may find yourself being the next person to sign up for your town’s local 10k race. It all starts with small changes that lead to big changes and, in the end, a healthier, more active lifestyle.
The human body was designed to be active. When you are not active, your health and well-being suffer. Make the decision now that you are going to take baby steps towards becoming more active, and see where it takes you. You will be amazed at how quickly your health will improve.
Are you making changes to be more active and healthier this year? Come back for more advice on how to make your plans stick!
Francis, M. (2011, Aug. 1). Some exercise is better than none; more is better to reduce heart disease risk. American Heart Association. Retrieved from: http://newsroom.heart.org/news/american-heart-association-rapid-211298.
Ekelund, U. Et. Al. (2014, Dec. 12) Physical activity and all-cause mortality across levels of overall and abdominal adiposity in European men and women: The European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition Study. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Retrieved from: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2015/01/14/ajcn.114.100065.abstract/.