12-30-2014 by 

New Years: a time to reflect, think about the future, and, of course...get in shape! Doesn't everyone start exercising after New Years? Well, you can too, and it doesn't have to be difficult. After all that holiday food you can rejuvenate your body and heavy mood with light exercises that are sure to help steer you in a positive direction. Here are three light exercises to get your body and mood moving:

Exercise 1. Stretches for Beginners

One way to begin a new exercise habit -- even in front of the TV-- is stretching. Stretching is considered an art form for exercise enthusiasts, but is an easy way to start at all levels. Some top athletes begin with light exercises such as stretching just to get themselves pumped up for their heavier drills they're committed to. Stretching is a great way to start getting back into exercise.

Let’s take for instance, when starting, non-athletes can begin with “Static stretching which involves holding a muscle stretch for 10 to 30 seconds…” while “dynamic stretching requires you to move your ligaments and muscles, with joints slowly moving in various ranges…” this can be done 10 to 12 times in a session. [1]

The two stretches mentioned above can also be good for your mood because of the sense of accomplishment as you achieve your goals. Build up the number of repetitions over a few days -- a little more each day. At this point you are already on your way!

A Few Basic Stretches

If you haven’t exercised in months, or even years…stretching can have the benefits for your heart and helps your blood flow to your muscles and joints; hence your achy stiff and sore body will not go into a full blown paralysis following any workout.

For the advanced, a workout still goes into rigorous training mode, such as a triathlete, running, long-distance swimming, playing basketball, football, …etc.  But, beginning with a light exercise such as a scheduled stretching program, it undoubtedly, can “improve and maintain mobile and flexible muscles,” plus correcting bad posture which also reduces the risks of painful injuries.

Get into the Mood for Light Exercising Progression

Until beginners find their niche in exercising becoming more advanced in stretchin helps continue to further exercise until physical training becomes more realistic. The progression into light exercises such as stretching will begin to feel as normal as taking a shower in the morning or going to wash your hands before and after eating. Stretching is a great way to start.

Exercise 2. Water Aerobics & Swimming Exercises

After stretching you can push your boundaries a little more in the water. Floatation devices and your weight floating is low impact for those considering another light exercise. With low impact swimming, your workout will uplift your mood tenfold; in other words, it is basic swimming in heaven. If you know how to swim, great! But, if you don’t, heck, you can stand in the shallow end and nobody needs to know.

For those who fear the water, hopefully your kids’ floating devices will help - or pick up a couple arm floaties at any large department or sporting goods store. Just being in the water doing these exercises is enough to get you in the pool of things. A great aerobic exercise in a controlled swimming environment is shown by Phillip Toriello, Aquatics Director and swimming coach. Here he illustrates a few ways to get into this aquatic exercise in his video: "How to Get in Shape by Swimming" (Livestrong.com). This is a great series of water-exercise videos by Livestrong.com. [1,2]

 

Exercise 3. Stationary Bikes

The last light exercise to start the New Year is an all time favorite for beginners - and that is low impact stationary biking. To kick off the season of resolutions, biking is not harsh for it is one of the most relieving exercises a beginner can get into. Stationary biking brings benefits for those just getting back into the rhythm of exercising without needing to leave your house. Those of you in snowy areas might particularly like this.

If you don’t know how to use a stationary bike, ask a friend or relative to assist you. Especially with the benefits of biking which won’t “jar” your spine. [3] Those of you who don't own a stationary bike can find an inexpensive used one on Craigslist or in the classified ads. 

It is the beginning of a committed person’s changing exercise habit. It will also help in a better, positive mood in a minutes compared to high impact workouts like weight lifting, running, or playing a sport with more than just half-time…and three time-outs.

If you live in the part of the world where snow is inevitable, a stationary bike will suffice (also, perfect for those TV junkies). Otherwise, go outdoors and bike around your neighborhood, if you’re lucky enough to live where there is no snow at this time of year.

The main benefits of these three light exercises are improving your flexibility and performance no matter what age or whether you are an athlete or not.

Mood Keywords: exercise, health, self-image, guilt, faults
 
Sources:
1. Jewel, Gabe. "Swimming Workouts For Beginners" http://www.theadrenalist.com/extreme/swimming-workouts-for-beginners/ June 25, 2013.
2. Haden, Blake. "Beginner Swimming Workouts" http://www.livestrong.com/article/260274-beginner-swimming-workouts/ December 18, 2013.
 
Image Credits: Main Image: mihtiander © 123RF.com and Inset Image: Goran Radosavljevic © 123RF.com (used under license)
 
© 2014 by Higher Mood™ unless noted otherwise - All Rights Reserved. Subject to our terms of use. Article Reuse Information: see our article reuse policy.

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