7 tips for staying active

Feel Good, Health and Fitness, Topics, What You Should Know

Being active is one of the best ways to maintain your health. However, staying active throughout the year can be difficult. Most of us enjoy being active outdoors in the summer; in the winter, it’s a different story. Dr. Bashar Maskoni, primary care physician with McLaren Port Huron, offers these seven tips to stay active and reach your fitness goals no matter the season.

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

2. Set short- and long-term goals. Fitness goals can focus on short-term achievements like walking 10,000 steps a day or losing 10 pounds. Goals can also be more long-term, such as attaining life-long health and living into your 90s. When setting fitness goals, consider what makes working toward the goal important? Using S.M.A.R.T. goals can help you plan and achieve your goals.
S: Specific – All the Ws – who, what, when, where, which, and why for the goal you want to accomplish.
M: Measurable – What metric will you use to determine if you meet the goal?
A: Achievable – Is the goal doable for you? Do you have all the necessary skills and resources to accomplish it?
R: Realistic – Does the goal align with your values and long-term objectives?
T: Time-based – Set an ending time/date to help provide motivation and prioritization.

3. Join a fitness community. Being part of a fitness community can provide positive peer pressure to keep everyone moving toward their goal. Becoming a member of a local gym or registering for an online program provides opportunities to explore new exercise techniques and hold yourself accountable. Sometimes all it takes is a friend or two to come together and form your own group. 

4. Invest in your fitness. Investing in your health is one of the wisest choices you can make. Some things you can do to help achieve your health goals and reward your efforts include hiring a personal trainer, taking a fitness class or trying a new activity; purchasing comfortable workout clothes or new cross-training shoes to put you in the mood for exercise; and a professional massage can help relieve those sore muscles and help you relax. 

5. Find an active hobby you enjoy. Being active doesn’t always require sessions at the gym. If you find an activity you enjoy, you are more likely to make the time to fit it in your weekly schedule. If the weather isn’t cooperating, look for activities at local community centers, schools and gyms.

6. Schedule your exercise. Schedule your exercise sessions on your calendar just as you would any other appointment. Select a starting and ending time and stick to it. 

7. Eat well, live well. When you eat well, you feel better. Limiting junk food and focusing on whole foods will give you the energy you need to stay active.