A new year has begun, which means you should be fully recovered from the holiday hangover (food, travel, spending, family), and ready to get back to your daily routine. For a majority of Americans this routine will have changed with the date, and will for a time include some positive lifestyle modifications. According to The Journal of Clinical Psychology, each year 45% of the US will make a new year's resolution involving changing their current lifestyle practices. Sadly, only 8% will successfully accomplish their goal each year. This is a disturbingly low success rate, but it can be driven up with just a bit of personal due diligence. The trick to conquering this change and creating healthful habits lies in being true to one's own comforts and enjoyment. Some like to go it alone, while others prefer to go it with friends, but no matter what, sustaining change is the overall goal. We all know the truth will set you free, but you have to search for it diligently, like free parking in the French Quarter on a Friday night.
The truth of physical activity is personally different for anyone, meaning what works for Jo will not work for Jane, and so you need to be real with yourself about your change. Start off by making a list of the things you know you like, (walking, bike riding, swimming, dancing, lifting weights, etc.) and not what you think you'll enjoy. Next, find free and safe places to engage in these activities. Walking or cycling at a park or along a pathway, lifting weights or swimming at a community center, or just cranking up the radio and dancing around the house to your favorite songs. Activity is all around us, we just have to make the time and space for it to happen. Here is a list of some free activities around the city:
Fitness Centers - use of cardio and resistance training equipment available to those 18+
Once you've done a little research and made your list, then make the time for you to go exploring at each one. Go and check out each park, playground, community center, and trail at the times you want to be active. Pay attention to how long it takes you to get there, traffic, parking (this aspect may or may not be free), equipment, workers, patrons, locker rooms, etc. Your final step is to make a quick schedule spending a little time in each place on your list each week. If you're shy, then go with a friend, co-worker, or family member to start you off. It is never too late for anyone to make a change, just start today. Next month we'll get into to some more fun and free strengthening exercises to add to your new routine.
Stay Active, Stay Strong,
James F. Thomas