Getting in better shape is normally right at the top of that annual list of New Year’s resolutions. For some people, going to the gym is easy and enjoyable. For others, it is pure torture. Add another obstacle, such as a chronic pain condition, and things can become complicated very quickly. However, there is more to fitness than just hitting the gym. We want to encourage you to pick an exercise program that is best for you, your specific needs, and that will engage you and keep you motivated.
Let’s take a quick look at some tools that can help keep you on track for fitness in 2015.
1. Fitness apps to get you motivated
In today’s hyper-connected world of social media and mobile devices the first place you may turn to keep motivated for better exercise habits are applications. Here are a couple of our favorite apps that you can keep on your phone to have exercise inspiration at your fingertips.
- My Fitness Pal: A good exercise program doesn’t mean much if there isn’t a balanced diet to go along with it. This app provides an easy-to-use food tracker and calorie counter that also factors in exercise along the way. It even provides motivational badges as you reach certain milestones.
- Google Now: Not every exercise program has to involve jogging or trips to the gym. Google Now is an easy to use feature that gives you ideas for adding exercise to your daily routine such as taking stairs or longer routes.
- Fit Radio: Sometimes all it takes is good, motivational music to get the blood pumping. This app can be used on your mobile device to play the right music at the right tempo for you to keep up the pace while exercising.
2. The right shoes
When you’re deciding to work out the first thing you need are the proper shoes for the type of workout you’re planning to do. Running shoes are different than walking shoes which are different than cross trainers, so it is important to know what you want and why you need them. WebMD offers this information about choosing the right shoes for your specific workout routine. Make sure that you choose shoes that fit your feet properly and provide the best support. Also, as you continue to wear them, watch out for the materials that break down and create more problems than they prevent.
The article suggests that you seek out help when looking for a pair of shoes for your exercise program. Talk with a professional at a store that specializes in shoes for sports, running, or other ways of working out.
We feel we cannot stress this tool enough. The number one reason that people give up on an exercise program is they are only accountable to themselves. Instead, talk to a friend with similar goals and create a buddy system that will keep you both motivated. Not only does it increase your chances of sticking with the workout but it can also be more fun. If you don’t have a friend with similar goals consider joining a local fitness meet-up group. These organizations are designed to keep people engaged and excited about the specific activity.
4. Equipment around the house
You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on expensive equipment or gym memberships to get into better shape. This list can give you some better ideas, but there are a few things you can do at home to help boost your fitness program, such as using:
- Kitchen chairs for bends and squats
- Stairs for climbing or leg lifts
- A water bottle as a lighter weight dumbbell
- Towels for stretching exercises
5. Assistive devices
If your primary concern is being able to exercise while dealing with the effects of a pain condition, there are many tools available that you can keep on hand. Some of the more common tools that are used in combination with exercise include:
- Braces or splints: You can keep pressure off already damaged and painful joints by utilizing a brace
- Stools with wheels: Rather than carrying a stool to help you with exercise, use ones with wheels that can be easily pushed
- Orthotics: You may wish to include a proper shoe insert to help with pain that can be exacerbated by exercise
Now that you know some of the ways to make exercise easier and more successful, it is time to look at the things that will motivate you to keep up the good work. What do you like to do? If you’re not already active it can be difficult to get yourself up and out of the house.
There are some more creative things you can do to keep physical. This includes:
- Walking: You can start slowly and work your way up without causing stress or excess damage to your joints or other painful areas of the body.
- Cleaning: Household chores can be a great way to keep fit. Going up and down the stairs with laundry can be an easy way to add a routine to your day or week.
- Commercials: On the same note, make a point to get up off the couch during commercials and do a few simple exercises as you wait for your favorite show to return.
- Yoga: This meditative and stretching based exercise is great for people with limited mobility as many of the poses can be easily adapted.
- Swimming: This may, in fact, be the perfect exercise for many people with chronic pain. You are buoyant in water so it will take stress off painful joints.
What kind of exercise program do you want to start in 2015 and what do you think would help you succeed?
Image by Janine via Flickr