The whole of May is ‘Exercise is Medicine’ month in the United States. What does that mean? This concept was launched in 2008 and on a national level it celebrates the importance and value of exercise and physical activity in health. For many health and fitness organisations is an opportunity to promote and spread the exercise as medicine to the public.
Here I would partly argue that exercise is not to be remembered and celebrated just for a month but all through the year. However, such initiatives can be a good opportunity to get inspired and get on the exercise wagon. So, whether you are in the States or in any other part of the world, why not join in the celebrations and the exercise is medicine month and make a start to a physically active lifestyle.
#1 Have a taster
Often people will say to me that they don’t know where to start. Even joining the gym is not guarantee to make you fit and active. Can be intimidating, not everybody knows what to do and before you know it is give up time.
If that seems too familiar then why not try before you buy? There are a number of different exercise activities which you may not even know about. With the Exercise is Medicine month guarantee there will be loads of thing and taster sessions going on. Look at your local gym, school or community centre to see what is going on. Go along and try different things and you may be pleasantly surprised.
Even if you are not in the States look around and you will see that there are numerous taster sessions going around. If you can’t find one and you want to try an activity just ring up and ask for one. Most places want to sell a membership or get people going to their club, classes etc. They are usually happy to give cheaper or free taster sessions.
#2 Join in with your kids
Kids have bags of energy and it is natural for them to be running around, play games, and climb trees nonstop all day. Join in the game. Play hide and seek, football in the park, jump on the trampoline or the bouncy castle, the options are endless and usually free. You will find that laughter is contagious and you may find yourself having too much fun. (See also: 10 family fitness ideas that are also fun)
It is also a good opportunity to bond and spend good quality time with your children. It is easy to be swamped by work, responsibilities and everyday life and forget what is like to run around free and careless.
#3 Tale advantage of the good weather
The sun and warm weather can be energising. Use that! Go out for a walk, a bike ride or a run. Again the options are endless. Bike rides and walks are usually the easier options. However, you could try climbing, which can be exhilarating, swimming roller scatting and so on. If you prefer more organised activities look for exercise classes or activities outdoors. Try an outdoor exercise boot camp which can be fun and also a place to meet friends and socialise.
If you want to be more adventurous why not go on a camping trip with friends and/or family. Once there fill your day with exploring the area, swimming, running, fishing and so on. Camping may not be a form of physical activity which you can do every day but sometimes it takes that one small thing to make you want to do more.
#4 Take on a challenge
I am not a firm believer of challenges but sometimes they do help to kick start a habit and motivate you. With the bikini season being eminent I decided to jump in a squats challenge to shape up a bit.
Passed the first week and once the aching subsided and some results started being visible, I got hooked on it. Here I go doing 50 squats at 7:00 in the morning and then again in the evening. To top it up I decided to find other challenges for abbs legs etc. All and all I do 30 min in the morning just after my coffee and before the shower and again in the evening.
Kick starting the day with some exercise feels really energetic and makes my day. The results are also very motivating. If you don’t see results then it can feel as if you are wasting your time although a good health is the best result out of all. Not all challenges work or are good for you. Do some research on the subject and see if it’s worth going for it. The downfall is that once the challenge is over you have to be motivated to carry on the physical activity your own.
#5 The non-exercise exercise
Indeed some people hate gyms, exercises and everything associated with it. So how can you get on the physical active mode? Try what I call the non-exercise exercise. What is this? It includes all those activities which we can do as part of our everyday but you don’t have to put them under the exercise category. An example is cleaning the house and gardening. Not all cleaning and gardening is physically active but some parts will have you moving nonstop.
Dancing is another example and one of my favourites. Some will argue that dancing is a classed as exercise but is something we do for fun going out. Try a salsa class or tango and dance the night away. If you like your living room and your games console too much then try boxing or skiing in the wii.
I am not a fun or do I support staying in and playing video games, however, if that is the only way you will are like to get some physical activity, well something is better than nothing. With video games be aware of injuries and make sure you do perform activities correctly. See also: 5 fun ways to get fix and sexy
#6 Make a 30 min pledge
It is easy to say I will be active, I will do this and that and it is even easier to not do it. In the winter I had the ‘I will go running 2 times a week’ saying which never materialised. Don’t just say it make a pledge and a schedule for it and then follow it through. Pledges can be simple as ‘I will turn the TV off between 5pm and 5.30pm and I will go in the garden’.
Start with things which you know you will follow and that are feasible. Running the marathon every day may not be within reality for everybody.
Try making the pledge with a friend or family. This way you will have each other to bounce on and keep motivated. It is also more fun sometimes to do things with others rather than doing them alone. Build on your pledge and make it an everyday routine.
#7 Volunteer for a local club
Why not be active, have fun and do something fulfilling? Volunteer for your local sports club or for a children’s charity. There are a few charities which involve taking special needs children out to different activities such as bowling or walking. If children are not your cup of tea then do something with adult. Be a volunteer for adults.
Not all sports clubs have the money to employ all needed staff and they would welcome volunteers. Even if a volunteering opportunity is not advertised do ask. It may be that they haven’t really thought about having volunteers but they would welcome your help.
Opt for something that you would enjoy and if you don’t like what you are doing discuss it with the people you volunteer for or try something else all together. If you don’t enjoy it you are more likely to give it up.