Turn a Favorite Pastime into Exercise

Turn a Favorite Pastime into Exercise

Skip the scale, in fact, Van Paris says to throw it away and take a photo of yourself instead. “For me, taking progress photos weekly has always been the key,” she says. “When you look at a photo instead of looking at a mirror, you are actually able to take a step back and be objective about the person you see versus viewing all the ‘flaw’ areas your eyes may naturally draw to when you look in the mirror.” She suggests taking a pic from the front, side, and back on the same day every week and at the same time.

7 Turn a Favorite Pastime into Exercise
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If you always wanted to dance, sign up for a salsa class or hip hop lesson. If you love the outdoors, schedule a hike a few times a month. If you’ve always loved the pool, join a gym where you can swim. If team sports used to be your jam, enter a rec league. “Exercise should be fun, a celebration of life, and a reason to feel empowered by what your body is capable of,” Van Paris says. Figure out some of your favorite pastimes and determine how you can turn them into exercise.

8 Base Goals on Old Habits
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Recount the previous workout regimen you stuck to before you decided to take a break. Then cut that in half, says Saint-Gerard. For instance, if you went to the gym to lift four days a week for one hour, start with two days a week for 30-minute sessions. Then, each week, add 15 minutes to your workout until you get to that full hour again. Every other week, add just one day until you’re back up to four days. Even if you used to crush cardio or lift heavy weights before you put a pause on exercise, don’t think that’s where you need to (or should!) start again. “Meet your body where it is, and if you don’t know what they may be or you don’t know how to get there, ask for some help,” Van Paris says. Friends, family, trainers, and Google can offer an assist.

9 Aim for Simple Cardio
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Van Paris offers this workout to do on a treadmill, bike, or elliptical: Warm up at a low-level intensity for five minutes. Then, for one minute, raise the resistance, speed, or incline. Then take two minutes to recover by bringing the resistance, speed, or incline back down. Repeat 10 times (or however long you can fit it in), then cool down for another five minutes. On another cardio day, opt for 15 minutes of easy steady state (or a sustained effort) and 15 minutes of medium intensity, with your five-minute warm-up and cool-down.

10 Give Yourself a Break
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“Accept that you are human, and that life is going to throw you off course sometimes. You’re going to rush to work sometimes and forget your lunch. Your friends will invite you to happy hour and you will eat one too many chicken wings. You will wake up with the worst cold of your life… and how are you supposed to work out when you cannot even breathe?” Van Paris asks a valid question. To all these things, you say “it’s OK!” Just get back to it the next day, rather than the next week or month or season. “Do not fear failure—you cannot fail if you never give up.”

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