So, it's February and the topic of being active is a hot one at the moment. Gyms are packed and Fitbit's are flying off the shelves. Lofty goals are being set with everyone wanting to lose 80 pounds by May. Now, while I'm not knocking anyone for their desire to work on themselves, I do think this "new year, new you" hype can be very detrimental and outright dangerous for many people. Being active now is mainly associated with weight loss, which is predominantly linked to a number, a weight or dress size, which in many people's minds equals being healthy. Being a size 4 doesn't necessarily mean you are healthy, just like being a size 24 doesn't mean you aren't.
So ladies, before you burn yourself out focusing on a number I would like to ask you to take a step back and just focus on being active and with that in mind, I've compiled my five tips to becoming a more active individual. While these tips won't guarantee you that six pack, they will help you build positive movement habits that will drive you to realistic activity goals.
Start off with something you love or loved to do – This is one of the best ways to become active and really tap into a special place in your heart. Were you a runner in high school or maybe you love to shake that booty? Look for activities that feed your passion and truly make you happy. These activities will never feel like work and getting back into something you let go off might just bring back many positive memories. As for me, I recently started taking salsa lessons. I danced salsa all of my life and for some reason, I stopped a few years back. Now I go to class twice a week and I love it. I feel sexy and strong, plus it's an excellent stress release.
Start small and build – You don't ever want to go from not doing anything to doing it five days a week. Let me just tell you now, you will burn yourself out! Start small and build. Maybe you go to yoga once a week until you gain more strength and energy to bump it up to 2 or 3 times. I don't believe in the no pain, no gain theory. That's how people hurt themselves and eventually give up on activities too quickly. Remember increasing your activity level is building a new habit into your already busy life. Start small and let it grow.
If it gets boring, move on – So you decided to try out Zumba and you realized you hate it? Well, stop right there! Don't do something you hate because more likely than not you will end up becoming frustrated and quitting it all together. However, just because something didn't work that doesn't mean the search for what does work should end. Often times we have to try many different activities or instructors before we can find "the one". It's like dating, ladies! Keep trying new things until you find the one that clicks.
Try something new – Have you ever heard the saying, don't knock it until you try it? Well, ladies, this is your opportunity to explore and try new things. Don't let your fear, which for some of us might be tied into our weight or size, stop you. We can do anything and everything we set our minds to. I learned that two years ago when I started running. I grew up in a house of runners and for some reason, I sucked at it. I mean even when I was a size 6 I couldn't run to save my life. It was only when a friend introduced me to the Couch to 5k program that I learned that it wasn't that I couldn't run, it was that I had never learned how. I started slowly, building strength and stamina. Within a few months, I was running my first 5k. This year my goal is a half marathon.
- Get a partner – being active with a buddy is amazing! First, it strengthens the bond you share as friends; there is something about sweating, grunting and aching that pulls people closer to each other. But also, coordinating an activity with a partner helps build accountability and encourages motivation. Now I'm not saying that you should wait or solely depend on a friend to get started but if you have someone who is interested encourage them to join you.
Remember that activity can be as simple as walking an extra 10 minutes a day or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. This is what you make it. Have fun, experiment and be open to new experiences.
Now ladies, if you are looking for amazing active wear, make sure to check out Malesh Activewear line. After several years in the apparel industry, founder Mesly Guzman decided to create a brand that celebrated both fit and fashion for sizes 12-24. Let me just say I love everything about this line. I felt comfortable, supported and stylish. I don't know about you but I hate working out in boring black leggings. As a runner I like pants with a little extra hold and these fit the bill. Enough hold for a run but also enough stretch for yoga. The collection comes in several bright colors and includes leggings, t-shirts, shorts and even matching headbands. Oh and guess what ladies? Malesh Activewear is offering all of my readers a 25% off discount on their next purchase. Make sure to visit www.maleshactivewear.com to see the enitre collection and entire code SHCActive for your discount.