Now's your chance: Make exercise a staple of your lifestyle, and own it

BY SANDRA GUY

Of course, we’d love to use our stay-at-home lockdowns to finally get off the couch – and we’ve read countless news stories quoting experts that getting truly fit will strengthen our immunity at the most critical time in our lives.

How can you make that first move – the kind of step that leads you to a journey toward self-discipline, well-being and yes, admit it, a smile when you look in the mirror?

Here are well-worn tips, but it never hurts to read them again – and this time, something may click.

• Make a schedule and stick to it. Block out time when you won’t get bogged down in emails or phone calls. For me, it’s the first two hours of the morning. I click on a video of my favorite exercise teacher – the 46-year-old Sue Wen with the six-pack abs, who repeatedly says, “No phones. No interruptions.”

That’s because, to get the most out of a workout, you must be focused and intense. The intensity makes all the difference. Wen has a unique way of motivating me – she can have fun, but she means business, and doing her fast, aerobic-based workouts have kept me strong.

• Find your own music – music that energizes you, reminds you of fun times and gives you a jolt of energy. I watch spin-bike instructors on video while I’m exercising on a stationary bike, but I play my own favorite music from the 60s and 70s in the background.

• Stick with a tough, 45-minute-minimum routine, but vary the add-ons. My husband and I swear by “Les Mills’” body-pump classes because they are tough, intense and build muscle. But I find short online videos to tack on, whether that’s “Dance Body Arms,” “Six-Minute Standing Abs,” or a kettlebell routine.

• Visualize your strongest, most lithe and athletic self. Perhaps you were a lifeguard as a teen, practiced high-stepping for hours in the school marching band, or spent four hours one or two nights each week warming up to dance en pointe in a ballet class.

Now, cop an attitude. Repeat after me: I can still bust a move. I can still stand erect. I can still be a force. I can stay taut and strong. Hey, Baby Boomers, you know 50 is the new 30, right? Listen carefully as the teachers in the videos taunt you with phrases like, “As you’re pushing to rock the boat, say, ‘I hate my abs” (meaning, I’m going to rock and rock until I’m chiseled), or “OK, Sassy-town, [let’s get sassy!]” or “We Are Titans! [I’m going to keep pushing until the end].”

• Think of exercise as an opportunity for self-care and self-enrichment, rather than as a chore or a duty. Appreciate the ability to move and improve.

Now, make exercise a seamless aspect of your life. #No Excuses.

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