Small changes yield big fitness results

Paula Reece

Change by definition means to make something different.  Things are certainly different as we adapt to the coronavirus pandemic and its effects.

Most people prefer what’s comfortable and familiar. How do we make changes, then, to better our lives?  Taking small steps toward change is easier and more successful than trying to make big changes all at once. This theory applies to so many things in life, including health and fitness.

Instead of making huge changes, enhance your daily routine with small changes. Here are a few ideas for making those small changes through exercise and activity:

Get in your cardio. About 150 minutes of cardiovascular activity a week is recommended. You can break that down to a more manageable 30 minutes of cardio five times a week.

If you’re short on time, try Tabata training. Tabata training is a form of high-intensity interval training that’s great for burning calories. A traditional Tabata session is only four minutes long.  For example, you could perform a Tabata session on an elliptical trainer. Go for 20 seconds at your maximum and recover for 10 seconds. Repeat eight times. This small change 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. Another big plus for weight training is 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 you feel the muscle working, but light enough you can do 12 to 15 repetitions. Continue to challenge yourself by adding a little more weight or repetitions as you grow stronger.

Don’t forget about flexibility. By keeping your muscles long and lean, you improve your range of motion as well as your posture. Try daily stretching.  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 rather than going out for a high-calorie lunch.

Measure your workouts. Measure your workouts in terms of not only in 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 as though you’re working hard, when you really aren’t. Use your workout times for maximum benefits.

Start with the big picture of exercise and break it down into smaller parts. Ask yourself which of these tips might work for you.  These are a few of the ways you can easily make small changes in your exercise routine. By making small changes, you very well could be amazed at how big the results become.