Exercise has many physical benefits. It helps improve heart health, strengthen bones and joints, improve immune function, and increase energy levels. When it comes to mental health, regular fitness improves your mood, reduces stress, improves concentration and cognition, increases self-esteem, and improves sleep quality.
The good news is you don’t have to run a marathon or spend hours at the gym to reap these benefits. In fact, the motto adopted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to encourage regular fitness is “Move more, sit less.”
This may sound like an oversimplification, but the premise is that a sedentary lifestyle can increase the incidence of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, as well as certain types of cancer. Every movement helps to prevent a sexual lifestyle.
Often people approach fitness with an all-or-nothing attitude. The key is to think of fitness as an integral part of your daily life – a way to move more and sit less. “Fitness is about health, not weight loss,” said Elaine Ragan, a Westchase resident and owner of Insane Fit Girls. “The stronger you are, the better prepared you are for what life throws at you.”
If you’re stuck in a fitness rut, or just looking for the inspiration you need to get up and start moving, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. We reached out to local fitness experts and residents for advice on making fitness a part of your life.
Please start slowly
You may be eager to embark on your fitness journey, but the key to long-term success is to start slow. According to HHS, people should “start low and progress slowly” by starting with low-intensity activity and gradually increasing the frequency and duration of the activity.
“The recommendation is 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise and two days of strength training per week. “The second day is 20 to 30 minutes of weight training,” explained Shannon Thigpen, a Westchase resident, wellness coach and yoga teacher. “But it may still seem like a lot. If so, start with 10 minutes a day. The important thing is to start with at least one person who has given you permission to hold you accountable. is.”
Find a community
Group workouts, whether held at a gym, fitness studio, park, recreation center, etc., are more than just a type of exercise. They are a source of motivation, support, and companionship. “Working out in a group setting has many benefits,” says Linda Senkowicz, a Westchase resident and certified aquatic fitness expert. “Part of her is finding motivation and inspiration from the people around her to support her.”
Westchase resident Dina Marcus attends Senkowicz’s group aqua fit classes at the West Park Village pool and finds encouragement in the group environment. “I’ve never felt more motivated until I tried Aqua Fit this summer. I loved it right away!” said Marcus. “Linda and Lisa [Neiderberger] He is an excellent instructor who focuses on encouragement. There’s no pressure or embarrassment. They encourage everyone to adapt the workouts to suit their needs and abilities. ”
“Being part of a community allows you to receive support and guidance from others who are on the same journey,” Senkowicz added. “Whether the journey is to improve your health or improve your strength and endurance, there is always someone who has your back. You will be held responsible!”
Group classes are also key to keeping your fitness routine fresh, and our area has plenty of options. The YMCA offers group classes in everything from HIIT (high-intensity interval training) and Zumba to cycling and yoga. Westchase Recreation Center offers local seniors popular morning toning & stretching classes, basketball league games, Bollywood classes, and more. We are also surrounded by local fitness centers offering group training for everything from martial arts to Pilates.
“Group exercise is a great way to add variety to your workouts and prevent plateaus,” Senkowicz said. “Each trainer has a different teaching style, so you never get bored. You also have the benefit of having an expert teach you how to perform each movement with proper form.”
Get 1:1 support
Personal training is a great option for people who want a little more privacy in their workouts, but still need guidance. Based in Westchase, The Exercise Coach offers her customized 20-minute workouts taught by certified fitness coaches to give you maximum results in the least amount of time.
At 20 Minutes to Fitness in Carrollwood, personal trainers lead full-body workouts with an emphasis on slow, sustained movements that can be tweaked to suit any fitness level. The YMCA offers sessions with a personal trainer, whether you want to try something new or just need an accountability partner.
Adjust according to age
Although important HHS guidelines regarding physical activity vary by age group, fitness is important at all ages. Preschoolers (ages 3-5) should participate in a variety of play-based activities throughout the day. Children ages 6 to 17 should engage in at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity each day. “Children have an easier time establishing habits than adults, so establishing a fitness routine early makes it a more integrated part of their lives and helps them stay mentally and physically healthy.” Mr Ragan said. “Children spend most of their day still, so finding time for physical activity can help keep them focused and prevent them from becoming too sedentary.”
For adults, to achieve substantial health benefits, perform at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise per week, plus two additional days per week. Above all, you need to do strength training that involves all major muscle groups. Exceeding these recommendations for physical activity can provide additional health benefits.
As you get older, exercise has additional benefits. According to HHS guidelines, older adults should follow adult guidelines whenever possible and include physical activity that includes multiple components, such as balance training and aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities. “An additional benefit for older adults is that staying physically fit allows them to maintain their independence,” Thigpen said. “As we age, our muscles and balance strength decline. We need both for everyday tasks, like getting up from a chair or reaching into a cabinet.”
“Bone density, range of motion, and muscle atrophy are definitely things to consider when determining your exercise habits as you age,” Ragan added. “Weight management can help prevent some diseases, and strength training keeps muscles strong and improves posture, range of motion, bone density, and overall quality of life. Routines don’t have to be tedious. It should be fun. Fitness can help you maintain an independent and high quality of life as you get older.”
adapt to changing circumstances
It’s also important to give yourself permission to adjust your workouts to fit your life circumstances. Perhaps you are struggling to balance work and family. Or maybe you just don’t have enough time to do everything. Staying active is important, especially to combat daily stressors, but his fitness routine may not be enough. It’s a little different, but that’s okay. “I was about to go [to aqua fit] Three times a week. We were only down to two because of work schedules,” Marcus said.
“Sometimes in life I train hard four days a week, and other times I go for a walk with a friend to clear my head and get going,” Ragan added. “We don’t have to be in an all-or-nothing situation. Some girls have been coming four days a week consistently for 10 years, while others only come once a week or even once a month. However, they are all welcomed with gratitude and enthusiasm.”
There are also times when our bodies require a change in activity. Maybe your knees are telling you it’s time to switch from your daily run to a brisk walk. Or maybe you’re looking to get back into your fitness routine after an illness or injury, but CrossFit isn’t on your mind at this time. There are many low-impact, moderate to low-intensity fitness options that provide a great workout and additional benefits. Pilates and yoga both strengthen muscle strength, improve flexibility, and reduce tension in your back and shoulders. It also promotes mindfulness and breathing techniques that help combat stressors in daily life.
Jiu-jitsu is a martial art that provides effective training to people of all ages and skill levels, while also teaching self-defense and increasing confidence.
Walking just 30 minutes a day can improve your cardiovascular fitness, strengthen your bones, reduce excess body fat, and improve your strength and endurance. Our neighborhoods and county parks offer plenty of opportunities for scenic walks that transport you into nature, while also providing mental health benefits.
Aquafit is also a great option. Senkowicz pointed out that aquafit classes are often thought of as being aimed at older people, but they provide a fun and effective workout for people of all ages and fitness levels. “Water resistance is about 12 times more than air resistance, so this is a full-body workout,” Senkowicz said. “Even just moving your body in the water, there is resistance no matter what direction you move in. Some classes use equipment to further increase the resistance of the water, enhancing your training and strength development.”
Because water takes the brunt of your body weight during aquafit, these classes are especially beneficial for people with arthritis, pregnant women, the elderly, those who are overweight, and those recovering from injury or surgery. “I think it’s very good for the joints. It’s less impactful, but it’s still a challenge,” Marcus said.
And there are additional benefits for seniors. “[Aqua fit] Exercises are specifically tailored to improve muscle tone, coordination, strength and balance to reduce the risk of falls,” Senkowicz added.
No matter where you are in life, the important thing is to keep moving in a way that works for you. Remember, move more and sit less.
do what you like
You don’t have to love every moment of your workout, but you should at least derive some joy from your fitness pursuit. “Fitness is different for everyone. I think people here train and think they need to go to boot camp or the gym, but they also have dance classes, Zumba, Pilates, yoga, running groups, friends, etc. “I don’t think they can take advantage of other activities, like starting walking or playing a sport, because a personal trainer needs that one-on-one responsibility,” Ragan said.
The key is to find the type of activity that appeals to you and that you can stick to over time. Some people prefer the rigor of a high-intensity boot camp, while others find satisfaction in a runner’s high. Some people prefer a leisurely hike in the great outdoors or a bike ride around their neighborhood.
Maybe you’re nostalgic for the passions you had when you were younger and enjoy being physically active through an adult sports league or dance training. Or maybe you’ll find peace in the mind-body connection with a yoga, Pilates, or martial arts class.
“My fitness routine includes daily walking and a Pilates class,” said Westwood Lakes resident and WOW writer Daniel Hauser. “I had never tried Pilates before, but once I took a class I was hooked. It’s great for building strength, flexibility and balance, plus it gives you a full-body workout. Pilates is , perfect for people of all ages and fitness levels. Even better, I’ve made so many new friends that I can’t wait to go to class.”
With so many options in our area, it’s easy to find what’s right for you.