7 Tips for Staying Active

7 tips you can follow to help you meet your fitness goals no matter the season.


1. Monitor your activity

An activity monitor can help assess activity and provide a baseline for goal setting. Most activity monitors will track your daily steps, estimate how many calories you’ve burned, monitor your heart rate, track the quantity and quality of your sleep and provide a goal to strive for. The easiest way to track activity is by wearing a monitor on your wrist or downloading an app to your smartphone.


2. Set long- and short-term goals

Fitness goals can focus on short-term achievements like achieving 10,000 steps a day or losing 10 pounds. They can also be more long-term like attaining life-long health and living into your 90’s. When setting goals consider your "why.” What makes working towards this goal important? Is it for your family? Your health? Using S.M.A.R.T. goals, meaning Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-based, can help you plan and achieve your goal. Specific: all the w’s- who, what, when, where, which, and why for the action you wish to accomplish? Measurable: What metric are you going to use to determine if you meet the goal? Achievable: Is the goal doable for you- do you have the necessary skills/resources to accomplish it? Realistic: Does this align with your values and long-term objectives? Time-based: Set an ending time/date to help provide motivation and prioritization.


3. Join a fitness community

Whether you become a member of your local gym or register for an online program, there are numerous options to help you explore new exercise techniques and assist you with accountability. Sometimes all it takes is a friend or two to come together and form your own group. Being a part of a fitness community, large or small, can provide positive peer pressure to keep everyone moving towards their goal.


4. Invest in your fitness

Investing in your health is one of the wisest investments you can make. Consider hiring a personal trainer, taking a fitness class, or trying a new activity. Purchasing comfortable workout clothes or new cross training shoes can help put you in the mood for exercise. And do not forget to pamper those sore muscles with a professional massage. These are all great ways to help you achieve your health goals and reward your efforts.


5. Find an active hobby you enjoy

Throughout Michigan, we have a variety of options for outdoor fitness. From hiking, tubing and cross-country skiing to downhill skiing, snowboarding, skating and snow shoeing, there is something for everyone. Being active does not always require 1-2 hour sessions at the gym, if you find an activity you enjoy doing, you are more likely to make the time to fit it in to your weekly schedule. If the winter weather isn’t for you, look for activities at local community centers, schools and gyms. For those who like to shop, simply walk around the entire store prior to making any purchases.


6. Schedule your exercise

Write down specific days/times you can commit to during the week and make exercise a priority. Schedule your exercise sessions on your calendar just as you would any appointment. Select a starting and ending time and stick to it. Seeing something attractive like “Timber Ridge Ravine hike” or “Meet Pete at the Gym” on your schedule might be more exciting and motivating than “exercise.”


7. Eat well, live well

When you eat better, you feel better. Limiting junk food and focusing on whole foods will give you the energy you need to stay active. Don’t forget to reward yourself with something small each week for accomplishing your routine.


Dylan T. Rosenthal, C.E.S, A.C.L.S., is an exercise physiologist at McLaren Northern Michigan’s Cardiovascular & Pulmonary Rehab program at the Demmer Wellness Center. Dylan earned his Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science from Western Michigan University.