Top 12 Tips for Movement and Exercise

  1. Goal-setting: Set up goals for what you want to accomplish and how you will do it. Find time every day for movement and/or exercise. When you do not have a plan and do not write it down it seldom happens. Writing down your plan, your program and your goals, scheduling races or other goals well ahead of time helps you achieve them. Your subconscious starts working toward that goal. Share your goals with others. Set up a weekly routine and log your work outs.
  2. The minimal 5 for your structured workout: Work out at least 5 days a week, at least 30 minutes each time including warm-ups and cool-downs. If you miss a day, go right back at it the next day. Developing consistent habits is the key to excellent fitness.
  3. Many small steps go a long way. Make a habit of taking advantage of the many small things in your everyday life that give you more strength and endurance.  Park your car further away from work or if possible, walk or bike to and from work. Take the stairs. Stretch and do isometrics at your desk, at meetings, while waiting in line, etc. Small bouts of mini workouts throughout the day can be more effective than a 60 minute structured workout at the gym.
  4. Variety: Overall fitness is best achieved by a variety of exercise routines that contribute to strength, endurance, flexibility, balance and coordination.  Mix it up with different activities and training modes that challenge you and work your whole body.  The body is great at adapting to repetitive routines, leading to suboptimal results. Mix it up. Try new forms of movement, dance and exercise routines. Long walks can be mixed with a yoga session, a dance night and a zumba or gym workout.
  5. Get your heart beating: Make at least half of your workouts “huff and puff” workouts, where you really get your heart beating. Intervals are great at building speed, endurance, strength, cardio-health and raising your metabolic rate to burn more calories throughout the day.
  6. Exercise with others. Join a gym, yoga studio, tennis club, swim club, bike club, etc. Working out regularly and together is more fun and more effective. You make new friends, get more motivation, get some valuable tips and keep it fun and consistent by exercising with others.
  7. Eat a whole foods clean diet. Reduce risk of injuries; optimize your training goals by eating an antioxidant rich and anti-inflammatory plant-based diet. Eat between 50-70% complex carbohydrates, 15-25% protein and 15-30% fat. With vigorous strength training more protein is needed. With vigorous, long distance cardio more complex carbs are needed.  A Mediterranean, vegetarian or plant based paleolithic diet will work. Avoid/Minimize the intake of the 5 bad whites: sugar, trans fats, flour, salt and rice.
  8. Drink the right liquids. Cut out the sodas and junky sports drinks. Drink at least half your liquid intake as water. Drink antioxidant rich teas like rooibos tea, green tea, white tea and black tea. A little organic coffee is fine during the day but plenty of water before and during workouts. With strenuous or long workouts drink a high quality sports drink containing electrolytes, antioxidants, magnesium and some sugars.  A recovery drink with some protein or a protein rich meal is very good directly after a workout.
  9. Get regular health and fitness checkups. Get a health checkup before setting up exercise goals and routines. Record your weight, waste circumference, hip circumference, body fat % and muscle mass % and any other relevant information.  With this baseline information established, you can make better, more realistic goals and also talk to your doctor about any precautions or types of exercises that can be better or worse for your health condition and laboratory findings. Laboratory findings such as glucose, triglycerides and cholesterol values usually improve on a consistent exercise program. It is fun to follow these changes along with body composition changes. Women aim for a more optimum body fat of 16-22% and men aim for 12-18%.
  10. Use the right supplements. Even though the stress of exercise makes us stronger and fitter, the stress of exercise, especially if you over-exercise breaks us down. It increases oxidative stress and can exasperate inflammatory conditions and certain medical problems.  Take supplements that protect from the oxidative stress and inflammation that often accompanies tougher exercise routines. Supplements can also protect against repeated infections and tendencies to injuries and fatigue. They can help give an energy boost or help with recovery. Some of the most common ones are: electrolytes, mineral combinations, antioxidants, whey protein, glutamin, creatin, C vitamin, Greens drinks, adaptogens and superfoods.
  11. Use the right equipment, shoes and clothing.  Find out what is needed for the best comfort and performance for the exercise you are pursuing. The wrong equipment, gear, shoes or clothes can make your efforts less comfortable, effective or safe.
  12. Learn about your activity and get help, coaching and advice.    A personal trainer, coach, magazines, websites, apps, DVDs, CDs and books can all give you more knowledge, motivation and inspiration to keep moving, keep improving and stay on track.

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