By Matt Silvers, Ph.D., C.S.C.S.
Associate Professor of Health Science
Wanna track more daily steps with your FitBit than every human on the planet? Need to buy the coolest fitness gear pitched in late-night infomercials? Relish the thought of scooping your daily calories from a protein jug, like Winnie the Pooh?
If this is you, keep on being you. You're awesome.
For everyone else, these scenarios may not describe your health and fitness motives. I've been around the fitness scene for 20 years. I work out, coach, and conduct research. I've learned a few things over the years and there are some wonderful innovations right now within the world of exercise physiology. But -- let's be real -- improving your health is not rocket science. If it were, then Whitworth's very own Kamesh Sankaran, professor of physics and warp-drive designer, would have written this article instead of me. In lieu of his insights, I've compiled some practical fitness tips to jumpstart your health and fitness for 2017.
KEEP IT SIMPLE. Don't start a bunch of new things at once or dive into elaborate nutrition and exercise plans. Start with one simple thing, do it well until it becomes habit, then make another simple change.
BREAK IT UP. Did you know that three 10-minute chunks of exercise each day can improve your health just as much as a single 30-minute exercise bout? New research indicates that cardiovascular disease risk may be even higher for those who sit all day after a morning workout, compared to when activity is interspersed throughout the day. Scheduling activity breaks throughout the day is an efficient way to gain maximum impact.
DO WHAT YOU LIKE. You'll be more motivated to perform physical activity you enjoy. High-intensity workouts may be the rage, but they don't work if you hate them and, consequently, never do them. Choose something you enjoy, and (sometimes literally) run with it.
WALKING IS AMAZING. Walking continues to demonstrate remarkable health benefits in study after study. It also happens to be cheap, simple and convenient for many people. So lace up and get in some steps.
CHALLENGE YOURSELF. Walk longer. Swim more often. Lift more weight. Whatever. Fitness will only improve in response to new challenges. Without them, fitness stagnates. Increase the difficulty of your exercise simply, slowly, steadily and in a fun manner.
Go get 'em, Pirates!