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How to Start Working Out and Find an Exercise Routine That Sticks

How to Start Working Out and Find an Exercise Routine That Sticks

When we’re mentally fit, the way we interact with the world is different. Imagine being less reactive in all of the hundreds of interactions we have every week. As the example above shows, we are choosing how to be and how to respond, rather than ping-ponging from one reaction to another. Over time, that adds up to a lot less stress and negative emotion. Just as physical fitness provides us with an increased ability to respond to life in all its richness, mental fitness helps in the same way.

Aerobic exercise is known to have a positive impact on depressive symptoms. Studies suggest that endorphins produced in the brain during exercise contribute to a general feeling of well-being. Exercise also boosts dopamine, which improves mood and jump-starts the attention span.

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Plus, when you commit to an exercise routine, it improves your sense of self-efficacy, or the sense that you can do what you say you do, according to Carmichael. These thoughts reinforce positivity, countering negative or depressive thoughts. Also, “one of the hallmark features of depression is a sense of helplessness,” so when you work out and increase these self-efficacy feelings you can potentially mitigate depression, Carmichael adds. Make a regular practice of ten to fifteen minutes per day of sitting with your eyes closed, or if that’s uncomfortable, softly focusing on something. You can train your attention muscle to remain focused on what you tell it. You learn to be the observer of your thoughts and achieve detachment from your thoughts. You learn that thoughts are transient and see the choice you have of which thoughts you give attention to.

Still, the number of days you work out may vary depending on your available time and fitness level. Generally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week. For example, you might split that into five 30-minute workouts per week. In contrast, you could opt for 75 minutes of vigorous exercise weekly. The CDC advises doing at least two days of strength training per week.

Reframe exercise as a reward “If you view exercise as a punishment for that ice cream, you are setting yourself up to approach exercise with a sense of guilt and disappointment,” Lagos says. Hence why one Journal of Health Psychology of 100 women found that the more dissatisfied they were with their bodies, the less likely they were to exercise. “Conversely, if you view exercise as a reward for a hard day of work or as a time for stress relief, you begin to build the mindset for optimal enjoyment,” she says. While he says most people will reap significant benefits by doubling the minimum recommendations, at a certain point, you’ll start to see diminishing returns on your investment. And if your friends are more likely to choose a game of basketball over beers, chances are, you will be, too. Participants in a study observing the effects of social media on exercise habits showed that simply knowing an anonymous peer was exercising increased participants’ exercise levels.

Lunges With Weights

Many experts suggest starting with no weight, or very light weight, when learning a strength training routine. Concentrate on slow, smooth lifts and equally controlled descents while isolating a muscle group. You isolate muscles by holding your body in a specific position while consciously contracting and releasing the targeted muscles. To build six-pack abs, you need an exercise routine that includes both strength exercises and cardio. Plus, following a healthy diet, like eating more lean protein, whole grains, and vegetables can help you reach your six-pack goals. To gain health benefits, you need to do muscle-strengthening activities to the point where it’s hard for you to do another repetition without help.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation Meditation

If you have caring responsibilities, Roberts says you can do a lot within a small area at home. “In a living room, it is easy to do a routine where you might alternate between doing a leg exercise and an arm exercise,” he says. Moderate aerobic exercise includes activities such as brisk walking, biking, swimming and mowing the lawn.

We also fall into language that carries obligation and guilt, such as must/should. Our chimp brain produces a negativity bias — we have one positive thought to every three negative thoughts. Common biases include “all or nothing” or polarized thinking, where we label situations as absolutes.

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Avoid eating more than 300–500 extra calories per day to minimize gains in body fat. Bulking periods refer to training phases during which you eat more food than you burn to support muscle growth. On the other hand, cutting refers to a period of restricting calories to reduce body fat, all while eating and training enough to avoid losing muscle. Assuming you’re performing three working sets per exercise, limit your total combined compound and isolation movement exercises to 5–7 movements per workout. Stimulating muscle growth requires performing weight training exercises with an amount of weight that only allows you to perform 1–20 repetitions. Muscle growth takes time, persistence, and a long-term commitment to the process. However, with proper training programs and adequate consumption of protein, it’s possible for most people.



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