What is an active lifestyle? An active lifestyle is one that involves movement, exercise, and energy. An active lifestyle means finding joy and purpose in physical activity, for self-improvement, for recreation, and for overall health. An active lifestyle is a way to counter the often sedentary nature of modern life, which typically involves sitting at a desk for work, sitting on a couch to watch TV or play games, or sitting in a chair glued to a cellphone. Here are some tips to help you achieve a more active lifestyle.
The first tip to develop a more active lifestyle is to determine your main purpose in pursuing an active lifestyle, and to set goals to strive toward and accomplish. For example, some reasons for an active lifestyle could be to improve your overall health, to rekindle an interest in outdoor sports and recreation, or to set a good example for your children and family.
When setting goals for an active lifestyle, think of the SMART method: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. So if your purpose is to pursue an active lifestyle for improved health, one of your main goals could be to jog each day. Using the SMART method, this goal would break down to:
- Specific: Jog for at least 30 minutes each day. Specify a location where this can be safely accomplished, e.g., the park, a walking path, or around the neighborhood.
- Measurable: Start a 30-minute timer on your watch or phone when you begin to jog.
- Achievable: Make sure you are physically able to jog for a 30-minute period; if not, lower the time interval to something that is achievable.
- Relevant: Jogging 30 minutes each day will burn calories, tone muscle, and encourage weight loss.
- Time-Bound: This activity must be accomplished within each day, so a 30-minute period must be set aside each day to perform this action.
Be Active as a Family
A great way to maintain an active lifestyle is to include your family in the process. Make it a family goal to stay active and improve everyone’s health and fitness. Go on walks, bike rides, and hikes as a family, help your children learn new sports and improve their skills, and find activities that everyone can do together to get up and get moving. An active lifestyle as a family can teach children healthier habits that can last throughout their life.
Start Slow, Be Consistent
If you’re just starting out toward a more active lifestyle, don’t overdo it. Start slowly, but be consistent. If you can only work in a half hour walk once a week, that’s fine, as long as you stick to it. As you get used to the activity, add an additional half hour session – perhaps weight training, or calisthenics, or bicycling. Maybe substitute time spent in front of the computer with time shooting hoops, or swimming, or playing catch. Get comfortable with your active routine, then build on it with additional activities.
Work Toward 30 Minutes of Activity a Day
Your short-term goal is to get started on physical activity and stick to it. Your long-term goal is to lose weight, increase fitness, and improve your overall health. Between those two goals should be the goal to be active for at least 30 minutes each day. If you can get to the point where part of your daily routine is 30 minutes of exercise, you will be well on your way to a healthier overall lifestyle. This can be as simple as waking up and jogging for 15 minutes each morning, or performing 15 minutes of push-ups, sit-ups, and squats every day, or walking around the neighborhood after dinner each night. The point is to make physical activity part of your daily life.
Quick and easy tips to increase your activity:
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Park further away from a store entrance.
- Use a standing desk at work.
- If you’re watching TV, during commercials, stand up to stretch and walk around until the program returns.
Make It Fun
It’s important to make physical activity fun and engaging, so that it becomes something to look forward to, rather than treated as a chore. Because everyone’s idea of fun can differ, the key here to is to find what works for you to make an activity more enjoyable. Some examples include:
- Making an exercise music playlist and listening to it while walking, jogging, cycling, or any other physical activity.
- Exercising by playing a game you love, like tennis, basketball, soccer, golf, and more.
- Finding interesting and scenic trails to hike, such as hills, mountains, and forests.
- Playing video games that require you to move your body, such as dancing games, rhythm games, or motion-guided sports games.
Make It Convenient
It can be easy to dismiss exercise and other physical activity when there is some roadblock toward activity. Gym memberships can be expensive, and gyms can be overcrowded. Bicycles can cost too much money. It can be difficult to find enough people to play a sport together. Instead of dwelling on what can make it inconvenient to exercise, focus on ways to make physical activity more convenient.
- Set up a treadmill, elliptical, or exercise bike near your TV, so you can watch something while exercising.
- Clear enough space in your living room, bedroom, or yard to engage in stretches or calisthenics.
- Look around outside your home or office to see if there are already people walking, jogging, or cycling, and at what times of day. See if you can join in for social exercising.
- Watch and exercise to free online fitness videos, e.g., through YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, etc.
As with all physical activity, it is important to stay hydrated to offset the fluid lost through exercise. Before any activity, drink water. After any activity, drink water. During any activity, stop and drink some water every 15 to 20 minutes. Being physically active can be tremendously beneficial to your overall health, but only if you’re doing it properly – that means ensuring you are not dehydrating yourself through exercise. Proper hydration can be as simple as bringing a reusable water bottle filled with Multipure filtered water with you whenever you’re out and about – at the gym, at the park, or on a walk.
The most important tip for an active lifestyle is to get started. Being active does not have to be a major undertaking, especially when you’re starting out. Simply find some time to get your body moving. Substitute couch time with time on an exercise bike. Stand up from the office desk and walk around during the day. Go for a morning or evening stroll. Start slow, but keep at it, and soon enough, you and your family can be enjoying a healthier, more active life.
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