Step 1- put down the remote! Anyone else make New Year “goals”, not resolutions, because the commitment level seemed less intense? Just me?! Well, one of my goals was to get healthier in 2021. A nice broad goal that allows me an entire year to eventually attain, lol! But in all seriousness, I broke that broad goal down into smaller realistic goals I could actually hold myself accountable for…I’m talking “baby goals”. For example, first baby goal was, put down the remote and get off the couch, managed to crush that one the first week of 2021!! Next goal, looked up the best gym near me and found some great ones. Next goal, start actually working out. And then this happened…turns out I like the benefits I get from doing cardiovascular exercise (shhh, don’t tell my couch, it’s got some strong jealousy issues, just ask the remote). So, I love the benefits I get at the end of the workout, but I do struggle still with the lack of energy to motivate me to initially workout and in the middle of the workout I am finding myself a bit sluggish as well, but by the end I feel like a new person, 10 years younger. Turns out I’m not the only one, if you feel the same way, please know that you’re in good company. So, after doing some research here are some ways that you can get ready and motivated for your cardio fitness workout and to feel good even when you’re in the middle of it.
Eat Smart Before You Exercise
It’s important that you have proper nutrition when you plan to exercise so that you can exercise for longer, delay your fatigue during workouts, recover faster, and prevent illness and injury during workouts. The meal you eat after your exercise (or even snacks) is equally as important. In general, eat a meal that’s high in complex carbohydrates, moderate in protein, and low in fat.
Warm Up Your Body
When you warm up, you prepare yourself for physical activity. The stretches and poses that you do increase your tissue temperature, heart, and respiratory rate, and boost your mental preparation for your exercise. It’s a good idea to start with stretches that work those muscles that you plan to use during your routine. You also should do about 10 minutes or a little less of low to moderate intensity cardio as part of your warm-up.
It’s incredibly important to drink plenty of water or your light beverage of choice before you get started. However, you’ll want to avoid drinking too much fluid. Make it a point to drink about 5-10 oz. of water or some other light drink such as a sports beverage during your workout.
Keep an Eye on Your Heart Rate
The recommendation is that you exercise at 60-70 percent of your maximum heart rate. This is determined by subtracting your age from 220. Someone who’s 30 years old would have a max heart rate of 190 and their heart rate should remain between 114-133. Heart rate monitors are ideal for use at the gym or when you’re running or doing some other cardio exercise. There are machines at the gym that have these but you might like to have one of your own.
Find Exercise You Enjoy
It sounds like common sense, right? Yet sometimes, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking we have to do specific exercise regimens in order to get physically fit. If you like to jump rope and spend 15 minutes on a stationary bike, go for it. If you prefer fitness videos or a class that involves dancing or something that barely seems like a workout, that’s great too. You’re sure to gain more from doing something and stick with it longer if you actually like the activity.
What’s your preferred workout activity? Anyone else into Zumba or cycling?