How to Pace Yourself

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Warm your body & mind up to the idea of exercise. If you haven’t been physically active for a while, it is best to start slow.

Try a light work-out then see how your body feels the next day. Listen to your body during & after exercise & it will tell you if you are working at a good level of exertion.

What is a good level of exertion? If your level of exertion is too easy, you won’t get results. You should be working at level that you feel challenged, at least a little bit. As your body conditions/adapts to the demands that you put on it, challenge yourself a little more.

A moderate to challenging level of exertion is best. Find a pace that you can comfortably maintain. You should be enjoying your experience.

Learn to self monitor (how you feel). If you are challenging your self too much, slow down. You should be warm, have a slight bead of sweat on your brow & a spring in your step.

To maintain a good pace, try listening to upbeat music (motivating & more fun). Exercising with friends or with a personal trainer can help, if you need an added challenge

Extreme levels of exertion aren't recommended. If you do too much, burn-out & injuries are likely. No pain, no gain is a myth. Pain does not motivate me to exercise. 

If you are not sure how much is too much, try using the Talk Test (I use it all the time, to make sure that I am in the best & safest heart training zone).

1) Too Easy = you are able to sing, while exercising (therefore, not exercising hard enough). 

2) Moderate level of exertion = you should be puffing a bit but still be able to talk (this is best)

3) Too Hard = breathing is difficult & unable to have a conversation

Throughout history, the Borg Rating of Perceived Exertion has also been used (the scale goes from 1 – 20: A simpler, version of this scale:

1          =          too easy

2          =          a bit challenging

3          =          challenging

4          =          very challenging

5          =          too much

Remember, listen to your body after exercise as well (the next day for example). If you wake up too sore, perhaps you did a little too much too soon. Adjust your level of exertion accordingly. 

If your body needs a rest day, take it. A rest is just as good as a work-out (for muscle recovery). I think our brains need this as well. I have been burned-out from work. We need to try to find a balance. 

Be realistic. We are all different. Don’t try to keep up with someone else. Pace Yourself. Be proud of what you can do & that you are improving your health. Keep it up & you'll make great strides!

The SMART way to reach your goals

This is the month for New Year’s resolutions. As we look forward to 2011, new goals are set. Whether your goal is weight loss or other goals in life, the SMART approach will help you to get there.

S         Specific                       Identify a goal & specific action steps to get there (write these down). 

M        Measureable               Make sure you can count it, time it or check it off a list (your action steps).

A         Achievable                  Start with small achievable goals so that you experience success.

R         Realistic                      Take into account your likes, dislikes, health, time etc.

T         Time limited                 Set a specific, realistic date to achieve your goal.

Don't try to change too many things at the same time. Focus on what is most important. Take the time each week to set & accomplish a goal. A journey of a thousand miles begins with 1 foot step. Your weekly steps will add up.

If weight loss is your goal, a plan to lose 2 pounds a week is healthy & realistic. Make nutritious food choices & practice portion control. If starting an exercise program, start slow (something is better than nothing). Gradually increase intensity or time. Be consistent.

If you don’t meet your weekly goal, try again. Don’t get frustrated. Don’t give up. Figure out what is getting in your way & find a positive way to get around those road blocks.

When you meet your weekly goal acknowledge your success. Be proud. Allow yourself the occasional small treat or pamper yourself in celebration.

Set yourself up for success. Take the SMART approach. Believe it, work at it & achieve it!