As we start a new year, people turn to New Year’s resolutions for healthier and happier lives. Many of us set new fitness goals to become healthier. But what does getting fit really mean to different people? Sometimes, the most challenging part of fulfilling resolutions is due to unclear or lofty goals. If it’s difficult to understand what your goal is or if it’s simply too much for you to accomplish, then it will be hard to stay motivated and complete resolutions. This year, let’s focus on doable fitness goals that you can implement in your daily life and reap the benefits of being happier and healthier.
What are the benefits of improving your fitness? There are plenty of reasons to get into better shape: better self-esteem, more mobility, and improved health are some examples. Lowering your likelihood of premature death is closely tied to your level of physical fitness. Studies have found that when ordinary people achieve a certain level of fitness, they live longer lives and are much less likely to develop certain diseases. Simple lifestyle changes that improve your fitness have the same effect on your life expectancy.
There’s more to physical fitness than just preventing disease and living longer. Fitness positively affects your current quality of life as well. People who consistently exercise report having higher levels of energy throughout the day and better stamina to complete daily tasks. Others report better quality of sleep and improved mood. All of these benefits can be just a few steps away from you this New Year!
One of the most important things to remember as you set some goals this season is to keep them realistic and achievable. You don’t have to go from a sedentary lifestyle to running a marathon in two months to see tangible improvements in your life. Your first step in determining your fitness goals is to accurately assess where you’re at right now. Do you exercise a few days a week or not at all? Do you regularly eat vegetables and drink water throughout the day, or do nutrition and hydration take a backseat to eating out and drinking soda? Check out this helpful activity level guide provided by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that breaks down targets based on age and sex.
Once you’ve determined your starting point, making simple goals like walking regularly and moving your body daily is the next step. Walking, especially trying to get 10,000 steps a day in, is an excellent fitness goal. So take those stairs, volunteer to take the dog for a walk, and make sure to get up and move around a bit at work. You’ll be amazed by the results of walking alone! Most people who don’t have active jobs take around 3,000-4,000 steps a day. So if you’re starting at this point, try to add about 1,000 steps to your regular day every week until you work up to 10,000. This way, you won’t put too much stress on your body, and it will be easier to stick with this new goal.
Consistent running is a great fitness goal to improve your cardiovascular health. Running a few miles here or there or working up towards a 10k is not only beneficial to your health, but it also gives you some pretty impressive bragging rights! To make running easier, recruit a running buddy who makes the activity more enjoyable and keeps you accountable.
Although cardio alone is beneficial, it needs to be augmented with other exercises to be most effective. One of your fitness goals should be to supplement cardio with light strength training and flexibility or mobility exercises. If you have access to a gym, lifting, other resistance training, or taking a yoga class will help your body achieve holistic physical fitness.
Other Health Goals
Physical fitness goals are fantastic for improving your quality of life and increasing longevity, but they are only one side of the equation. To maintain physical fitness, paying attention to other parts of your physical and mental health is essential. For example, drinking enough water and fueling your body for your new exercise goals are essential steps to becoming fit. Making a habit out of drinking around eight glasses of water a day is a worthwhile goal to get you started on your way to improved physical health. These goals are useful for your physical fitness and to maintain and improve your mental and emotional health.
A Parting Reminder
The Top Doctor Magazine team hopes you’ll take your newfound knowledge of physical fitness into this New Year. Maintaining physical fitness should be a top priority because it comes with numerous health and quality of life benefits. If you’re looking for more recommendations on how to live a happy and healthy life, check out our lifestyle publication!