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Small changes in exercise can result in big changes in fitness

Paula Reece

By definition, change means to make something different. But many people don’t easily accept change. We all like the idea of comfortably remaining within the confines of the familiar. 

So how do we make changes that improve our lives? Breaking down a big objective into small steps to change, address or achieve something is much easier and often more successful than trying to make major changes. This theory applies to so many things in life. The same holds true for health and fitness. Instead of making huge changes, think of enhancing your daily routine with small changes that you can live with. 

Last month, I wrote about making small changes through nutrition. This month, I want to talk about making small changes through exercise and activity.

Get in your cardio exercise — it’s recommended you log 150 minutes per week.  You can break that down so it becomes do-able with 30 minutes of cardio five times a week.

If you’re short on time, try Tabata training. Tabata training offers a form of high-intensity interval training that’s great for burning calories. A traditional Tabata session lasts only four minutes. You could perform a Tabata session on an elliptical trainer.  You go for 20 seconds at your maximum and recover for 10 seconds. You repeat this session eight times. This is a small change, but can yield big results. Try it for one of your cardio workouts this week.

Include strength training in your fitness routine.  The stronger your muscles, the easier it is to complete many of your daily activities. A big plus for weight training is that it increases your metabolic rate and causes the body to burn more calories throughout the day. Try adding an extra day of strength training.  Shoot for two to three days a week. When selecting a weight, it should be heavy enough that you feel the muscle working, but light enough you can complete the repetitions. Continue to challenge yourself by adding a little more weight or repetitions as you become stronger.

Don’t forget flexibility. By keeping your muscles long and lean, you’re improving your range of motion as well as your posture. Try a yoga or Pilates class. A little change could mean you stand up from your work chair and reach up high to the sky.

Make a conscious effort to get in just a little more activity.  Park a little farther away from work or the store. Take the stairs instead of the elevator.  Put on your tennis shoes and go for a walk at lunch rather than going out for a high-calorie meal. 

Measure your workouts not only in terms of minutes, but also exertion. Wear a heart rate monitor. Figure out your target heart rate, and this will help you to reach your goals. Sometimes you might feel you’re working hard when you actually not. Use your workout time for maximum benefit.

Take the big picture of exercise and break it down into smaller parts. Ask yourself which of these tips could work for you.   These tips offer just a few ways you can easily make small changes in your exercise routine. By making small changes, you’ll amazed at how big the results can be.

Keep life fun.

Paula and Dale Reece own Crossroads Fitness Centers in Grand Junction with a downtown location in the Alpine Bank Building at 225 N. Fifth St. and an airport location at 2768 Compass Drive. For more information, call 242-8746 or log on to www.crossroadsfitness.com.
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Posted by on Oct 23 2013. Filed under Contributors. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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