I know a magic pill for achieving your health goals would be the ideal, but in reality it comes back to a healthy diet and regular physical activity. If you have been sedentary all your life, the idea of working out or exercising can be very daunting. Try these steps to get moving in a way that works for your life.
1. Explore your emotional and cognitive values with respect to the problem. Are you sedentary because you’re afraid you will look foolish walking around your neighborhood or you believe the gym is a meat market and you do not want to be on display? Are you sedentary because when you tried to participate in sports as a child you were always chosen last, so being active must not be your thing?
2. Substitute alternate positive behaviors for the negative behavior. It can take up to 30 days for a new behavior to become a habit. Be aware of this and put safety guards in place. Stick with your action plan and continue to replace old sedentary behaviors with new physically active ones. You may feel some loss. You may actually miss your old behaviors. These behaviors are like old friends you felt comfortable with and change moves you out of your comfort zone. Review your reasons for wanting to be physically active and the long-term benefits you will gain if you stick with your plan.
3. Be aware of what triggers reverting to your old habits. What safety mechanisms can you put in place to negate these triggers? Start replacing old behavior triggers with something positive. For example, place your goals where you will see them daily – like the refrigerator. Keep gym shoes by the front door. Create reminders at work, such as tennis shoes under your desk for a lunch time walk. Always be on the lookout for stumbling blocks and be prepared to brainstorm ways to overcome the hurdles.
About the blogger:
Learn more about Lisa Nelson is a Registered Dietitian specializing in heart health. Learn more here.