Why Is It So Hard to Exercise? 
Get fit! Here is the first step to get you motivated to move.

You know you should do it. And you know why: Exercising -- simply put, moving instead of sitting -- is critical for safeguarding your health and setting a good example for your kids. So why does it seem so hard to get yourself moving?
The truth is: You can. But knowing how and why to exercise isn’t enough. You need to develop the right mind-set to get and stay motivated.
"Change is hard!" says certified health behavior coach Shelly Hoefs, fitness supervisor at the Mutch Women’s Center for Health Enrichment in Sioux Falls, S.D. "When we try to start exercising, we think of all the excuses for not doing it and all the things that have gotten in the way before. Getting fit starts to seem overwhelming. And that makes it feel stressful. Before long, we don’t want to do it anymore."
Here is the first step to get you moving in the right direction -- and keep you going.

1. Find Personal Motivation to Exercise
What you need to get you up off the couch is a reason that's important to you. At first, that may be some external factor, says Cal Hanson, director of the Sanford Wellness Center in Sioux Falls, S.D. It could be a number on the scale that surprises you or your doctor's recommendation that you need to move more to stay healthy.
There are all kinds of benefits to getting fit. Which matters most to you? Something as simple as taking a walk after dinner every night helps to:
*control your weight
*strengthen your bones
*enhance your muscles
*reduce your risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer
Plus, by becoming active, you're being a good role model for your children.
These benefits may get you started, but they may not cut it when it comes to keeping you moving day after day, Hanson says. To keep up your motivation to exercise over time, you also need to find your internal motivators. Maybe taking a yoga class leaves you feeling more energized or less stressed. Maybe a run or walk every day helps you let go of stress. Hanson says these are the kind of rewards that are meaningful to you on a personal level and that can help keep you motivated.

2. Set Realistic Goals to Get Fit
CDC guidelines call for adults to do 2 1/2 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise a week. That's a 30-minute walk five days a week. If you kick it up a notch - jogging or running, for example – it can be 15 minutes a day, five days a week.
You can aim for these exercise guidelines, but don't try to meet them at the start. "People lose their motivation to exercise when they try to do too much too soon," says Hanson.
So instead of walking for 30 minutes a day right off the bat, start out doing 15 minutes a day, two or three days a week.
Set weekly goals, gradually adding more time and intensity. At the end of each week, take a look at how you did. If you reached your goal, celebrate! "And if you didn't reach your goal," Hanson says, "think about what went wrong and how you're going to respond differently next time."

3. Stop Thinking of It as Exercise -- Do Something You Enjoy
You don't have to go to the gym to get a good workout. It's all about moving more - however you do it. For some people, going to the gym provides structure that helps them focus and a sense of accomplishment when they're done. For others, it's a chore - one they wind up avoiding as often as they can.
What else can you do? Almost anything that gets you - and your family - moving:
• Walk the dog, or walk a neighbor's dog. They'll be grateful for the help!
• Have dance contests with the kids instead of watching TV.
• Go to the park and play hide-and-seek.
• Shoot hoops with the kids.
• Walk or bike to the store instead of driving, or park far away from the entrance.
• Get off the train a stop early and walk the rest of the way to your office.
If you think about it, you're surrounded by opportunities to get more active. Find the ones that you get excited about. You're more likely to keep doing them if you're having fun.

4. Plan How to Fit Exercise Into a Hectic Schedule
For busy parents, a major obstacle to getting fit is lack of time. If you wait for time to open up, chances are you won't be able to squeeze in a walk or a dance class very often. To avoid getting sidetracked by the daily demands of life, try these tips:
• "Sit down with your schedule and really carve out blocks of time," says psychologist Susan Bartell, PsyD, author of Dr. Susan's Fit and Fun Family Action Plan. Put it in your calendar like any other appointment.
• Add physical activity to things you already do. For example, pedal a stationary bike while reading or watching TV. Or take a walk with a friend to catch up instead of calling each other on the phone.
• Plan activities you can do with your kids, such as going for bike rides or skating. Not only will you find more time for fitness, you'll help inspire your kids to move more.
If you plan ahead for potholes on the road to fitness, you're more likely to stay on course, Bartell says. "When you think through solutions to problems in advance, you're less likely to give up when a pothole comes along."

5. Bounce Back From Setbacks
You've set a reasonable fitness goal. You've prepared for potential problems. Yet somehow you still didn't make it to the gym today as you had planned. Don't let that be your downfall.
"For many people, this is a slippery slope," Hanson says. "It reminds them of times when they failed before, and they begin to think of themselves as exercise failures."
When this happens, it's time for an attitude adjustment so you don't completely lose your motivation to exercise. If you miss the gym on Monday, that doesn't mean your whole week is shot, Hanson says. It simply means you need to hit the gym on Tuesday or take the dog for an extra-long walk tonight.
Knowing how to exercise isn't just a matter of learning how to use your body to hold a yoga pose or swing a racquet. It also involves learning how to use your mind to propel yourself into action and stick with a fitness routine.
"Start thinking of yourself as someone who exercises," says Hoefs. "Eventually, that will become your identity."

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Fitness in casa-Ecco i tuoi “attrezzi” 
Non avete tempo per la palestra. Siete troppo pigri per andare a correre almeno nel weekend. Però l’idea di presentarvi fuori forma non vi piace proprio. Che fare? La soluzione c’è ed è semplice: vi permette di non allontanarvi da casa, non vi ruba troppo tempo e soprattutto è molto efficace.
Si chiama fitness fatto in casa, il programma che vi propongo per affrontare con grinta l'inverno dedicando solo dieci minuti al giorno, al mattino. Già in poche settimane tornerete ad avere una muscolatura tonica.Dopo aver fatto follie per la palestra, gli italiani riscoprono il gusto della ginnastica in casa. L’home fitness, come la chiamano gli inglesi. Vuoi mettere il gusto di tenersi in forma senza sottoporsi allo stress di ritagliare nella giornata lo spazio per il fitness center? Non solo: è dimostrato che in palestra ci si annoia e si soffre. Un sondaggio conferma quello che pochi hanno il coraggio di dire apertamente. Il popolo del fitness vive il rapporto con aerobica e pesi come una tortura: il 36% non si diverte, il 44% si annoia. L’unico effetto degli allenamenti è di rovinare la serata (il 19%, una volta a casa, si accascia esausto sul divano). La soluzione? A portata di mano: attrezzare una mini palestra in casa. Poca spesa, orari comodi e un fisico da urlo.Inoltre, bisognerebbe fare sempre in modo di scegliere un ambiente illuminato: stancarsi in un luogo buio o in penombra può... far venire sonno.
Quanto all’attrezzatura, per conservare i pesi o lo step basta un armadio. I “pezzi” più ingombranti (cyclette e tapis roulant) andrebbero sistemati nella camera in cui ci si allena: in questo caso, è sempre meglio puntare su quelli pieghevoli, che si possono facilmente riporre sotto al letto.L’importante è essere costanti: allenarsi anche intensamente, ma solo una volta la settimana, dà benefici che durano pochi giorni. I vantaggi di un’applicazione breve e mirata, invece, sono tantissimi: soprattutto per i muscoli, che attraverso uno sforzo leggero, ma quotidiano, acquistano forza gradualmente, senza accelerazioni o stop improvvisi. E non rischiano quindi di avere problemi.
Vi spaventa l’idea di allenarvi al mattino? Chiariamo subito: nessuno vi chiede di mettervi a faticare appena svegli, anzi. I muscoli sono ancora intorpiditi dalle ore di inattività notturna. Fate passare una ventina di minuti, cominciate a sbrigare le solite cose, le piccole abitudini di ogni mattina.

In alternativa ecco i tuoi “attrezzi”...Non è necessario disporre di una completa attrezzatura da palestra, per mantenersi in forma in casa. Basta mettere mano a piccoli e grandi oggetti che abbiamo già a disposizione tra le mura domestiche. Insomma, è possibile sfruttare le faccende e le commissioni che tutti giorni ci sono da fare nell’appartamento, per bruciare calorie (poche, è vero, ma pur sempre calorie) in poco tempo. Non ci credete? Ecco qualche esempio.

Il battipanni. Il tipico strumento della casalinga doc si può trasformare in un ottimo attrezzo per rinforzare spalle e bicipiti. Cercate di alternare ogni 5 minuti il braccio destro al sinistro: li tonificherete in modo omogeneo. È stato calcolato che il movimento del battipanni fa bruciare fino a 3,5 calorie al minuto.
Lo spazzolone. L’altro tipico strumento della massaia ,ma anche del maschio single, costretto ad “adattarsi” alle faccende domestiche va benissimo per la muscolatura delle braccia. Un consiglio: fare pressione su un panno bagnato, piuttosto che su uno asciutto, aiuta a potenziare anche i pettorali. E permetterà di bruciare circa 5 calorie al minuto.
Il ferro da stiro. Visto che per stirare si usa di solito sempre lo stesso braccio, approfittate delle pause per sollevare e rilasciare con l’altro il ferro (per due minuti). Brucerete fino a 2,5 calorie al minuto.
Bottiglie. Tenendone una per mano (da 1,5 l), alzatele portando le braccia al petto: ciò vi permetterà di modellare spalle e avambracci. Ripetete l’esercizio per 10 minuti al giorno, tutti i giorni. Eliminerete circa 3 calorie al minuto.
Se in palestra si può fare lo spinning, lo step, la kick boxing e tutte le altre diavolerie a cui ci siamo abituati, in casa le discipline sono... diverse. Già, perché coincidono con alcune attività tipiche della gestione dell’appartamento.
Lavare i vetri. Strofinare un panno umido dall’alto verso il basso vi farà rassodare i muscoli delle braccia. In senso orario o antiorario, invece, eserciterete anche quelli dei pettorali. Alternate le braccia ogni 3 minuti. Perderete fino a 3,5 calorie al minuto.
Lavare i piatti è un buon esercizio per spalle e braccia. Ogni 3 minuti, contraete e rilassate a piccoli intervalli regolari anche i muscoli dei pettorali. Brucerete circa 3 calorie per ogni minuto.
Portare le buste della spesa in casa, magari usando le scale invece dell’ascensore, vi aiuterà a tonificare sia i muscoli delle braccia sia quelli di gambe e glutei. E aiuterà a eliminare fino a 5 calorie al minuto.
Passare l’aspirapolvere. Fate piccoli movimenti, alternando le braccia. Rinforzerete bicipiti e tricipiti, senza affaticare la schiena. E vi libererete di circa 3 calorie al minuto.
Quindi, dopo aver indossato abiti comodi e leggeri (il cotone sarebbe l’ideale), mettetevi al lavoro.E ricordate: solo dieci minuti tutte le mattine, dal lunedì al sabato. La domenica, riposo. Ma cercate almeno di concedervi una bella passeggiata…
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45-minute Detox Yoga Workout 

Yoga Means Less Stress, More Calm

Even beginners tend to feel less stressed and more relaxed after their first class. Some yoga styles use specific meditation techniques to quiet the constant "mind chatter" that often underlies stress. Other yoga styles depend on deep breathing techniques to focus the mind on the breath. When this happens, the mind calms.
Among yoga's anti-stress benefits are a host of biochemical responses. For example, there is a decrease in catecholamines, the hormones produced by the adrenal glands in response to stress. Lowering levels of hormone neurotransmitters -- dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine -- creates a feeling of calm. Some research points to a boost in the hormone oxytocin. This is the so-called "trust" and "bonding" hormone that's associated with feeling relaxed and connected to others.

Yoga, Concentration, and Mood

Harder to pin down and research scientifically, concentration and the ability to focus mentally are common benefits you'll hear yoga students talk about. The same is true with mood. Nearly every yoga student will tell you they feel happier and more contented after class. Recently, researchers have begun exploring the effects of yoga on depression, a benefit that may result from yoga's boosting oxygen levels to the brain. Yoga is even being studied as an adjunct therapy to relieve symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Yoga's Effects on Other Medical Conditions

As yoga has become more popular in the West, medical researchers have begun studying the benefits of therapeutic yoga. This is also called integrative yoga therapy or IYT. It's used as an adjunct treatment for specific medical conditions, from clinical depression to heart disease. Yoga benefits other chronic medical conditions, relieving symptoms of asthma, back pain, and arthritis. Most worldwide clinical studies are happening outside of the U.S. But even the NIH has funded clinical trials on yoga and its health benefits for insomnia and multiple sclerosis.

Other Benefits of Yoga

Some studies have suggested that yoga may have a positive effect on learning and memory. Other researchers have been studying whether yoga can slow the aging process, increase a person's sense of self-acceptance, or improve energy levels.
Some potential benefits of yoga may be hard to study scientifically. For instance, yoga has been said to increase spiritual awareness. Nevertheless, there is an abundance of anecdotal claims for what yoga can do. Go to any yoga studio and listen to students after class. Some will even tell you that yoga can help improve marriages and relationships at work.
The only way to be certain of all that yoga can do for you is to try it for yourself and see.
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