Give yourself priority in the new yearDec 22, 2022 11:47AM ● By Amy Laundrie
As a teen, my father used to challenge me to do 50 push-ups. I worked up to it and eventually did that many. I recall a new boyfriend meeting my parents for the first time and my dad bragging about my ability to do push-ups. He even had me demonstrate. I don’t recall my boyfriend’s reaction, only my dad’s face all lit up.
I tried to do push-ups earlier this fall and failed miserably. Needing some motivation, I joined a gym and even participated in a couple of personal training sessions. With an instructor watching my form and cheering me on, bringing back memories of my youth, I persevered. I’ve increased my strength. It could happen for you, too.
2023 is the year to give ourselves priority, beginning with caring for our health. Exercise is not only beneficial for our physical health, but our mental health, too, giving us an endorphin rush needed on these short, cold days. It’s also a great way to work out frustrations or stress.
During some of the most stressful years of teaching, I joined a karate studio. I worried the commitment was just going to compound my stress level, but building strength, learning the moves and how to maintain focus saved my sanity.
A woman I know who is a caregiver said her time at the gym was a healthy release—something she does for herself.
“My gym is wonderful. I’m able to strengthen my muscles and my outlook. I can feel myself relaxing, laughing and having fun. I need that as much as physical fitness,” she said.
I also met a young mother who felt her short time away from her child made her a better mom. The quote “Take care of yourself; you can’t pour from an empty cup” is an excellent motto.
Let’s consider a new year’s challenge in which we give ourselves priority with a regular exercise program. If going to a gym isn’t an option, you can still prioritize your health with these alternatives.
Form a neighborhood group and work out in someone’s home. Being accountable to another person will keep you both motivated.
Join one of the growing pickleball (or curling) groups that meet indoors and have such a great time you don’t realize you’re exercising. Also check out classes for yoga, Zumba or strength building.
Explore online options (YouTube has a ton) and choose from a multitude of exercise suggestions. Or simply download an app such as “7 Minute Fitness Challenge” and set a weekly schedule. In just seven minutes you can get in a great workout.
Make it fun. Walk or jog on the treadmill while watching TV or prep for healthy meals while listening to your favorite music or a compelling podcast.
It takes an average of 66 days to form a habit. If we begin an exercise routine by January 1, it will become ingrained in us before the start of spring. By then I just might be back to pumping out those push-ups. Consider giving yourself a gift in the new year. Prioritize your health.
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