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Make fitness part of your routine

Have you tried exercising many, many times, only to find it difficult to stick with the program? You just can't seem to get the motivation to make it a routine habit? Well, you're not alone. Research has found that about 50 percent of people who start an exercise program will drop out within the first six months. Usually excuses are tossed around, from "I'm too busy" to "I'm too tired."

So what is it that keeps longtime exercisers committed? I asked some of my class members who have been exercising for at least five years what motivates them to keep exercise in their lives. You might be surprised by the answers. There was no mention of awesome abs, or even losing weight. The four main reasons they gave: maintaining or improving bone density, having more energy, just feeling good and feeling younger. Whatever your reason to make exercise a regular part of your life, it must offer a combination of fun and fitness. And remember: The body was designed to move!

Commit to being fit

For starters, select an activity that you feel both you and your body would be happy with. If you are dealing with arthritic joints, you might want to head to the water to try swimming or water aerobics. You may want to work with a certified trainer who has experience in the pool.

Select days and a time of day that will work with your schedule and will help you stay on track. Make appointments for yourself on your calendar and check them off.

A few other tips

Ignore fitness myths: The old myth "no pain, no gain'' would discourage some people from even giving exercise a try. Tune in next month to read about the many confusing myths and misunderstandings about exercise.

Fight off the "I'm too tired" excuse: Exercise can energize you. That's just one of its many delights.

Shorten your workouts: Studies have shown that people starting an exercise program remained more committed when they worked out for 10 minutes a day, rather than 30 or 40 minutes.

Try working outside the box: You might enjoy fitting a workout in anywhere, anytime, without equipment. Keep walking shoes in your car, for a "just in case" moment. If you enjoy walking and want to take things up a notch, add a few good body weight exercises for a strength workout on days you are not walking. For a little more cardio action, pretend you are jumping rope.

Check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program. Sally Anderson is happy to hear from readers but can't respond to individual inquiries. Contact her at slafit@tampabay.rr.com.

Your move | Demonstrated by Cindy Matthews

Mountain climber: Strengthens the legs, core and upper body.

Begin in a plank position with your shoulders over your hands and your heels lifted off the floor.

Contract abdominals to protect your lower back.

Tuck your knee in toward your chest as far as you comfortably can, elbows slightly relaxed.

Return leg to the basic plank position.

Change legs and repeat the tuck position. This counts as one rep.

Continue alternating legs for 10 repetitions.

Tips: To modify, bend your knees and drop them to the floor. You can add a cardio workout by moving the legs faster: Keep changing legs, increasing the pace until it feels like you are running in place.

Side plank with shoulder rotation: Targets the core, challenges your balance and is a nice stretch for the upper back.

Begin in a side plank on your left side with your lower arm on the floor, palm facing downward, hips lifted off the floor and right hand behind your ear. Be sure your shoulders, hips and legs are in alignment, feet stacked together.

Contract abdominals. Inhale, then exhale as you rotate your right shoulder, bringing your elbow toward your left hand. Pause, then return to original position, repeating eight to 10 times. Change sides and repeat.

Tips: To modify, bend the inner knee, resting it on the floor. The top leg will remain straight.

Warrior 3 with a balance posture: Targets the legs and core and strengthens balance.

Standing on your right foot, lift the left knee to hip level, bending arms with elbows by your side, palms facing inward.

As you reach your chest forward while extending arms shoulder level, lengthen your left leg behind you. Both your torso and leg should be parallel to the floor.

Pause, then bring your left leg and arms back to the original knee lift position, repeating eight to 10 times. Switch leg positions and repeat the pattern.

Tips: Keep your standing leg slightly bent. To help with balance, hold on to a sturdy chair or wall for support.

Make fitness part of your routine 11/17/17 [Last modified: Friday, November 17, 2017 4:48pm]
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