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Home Sections Health & Fitness You have the power to take control of your own life

You have the power to take control of your own life

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You have the power to take control of your own life

By Dr. Ira Shapiro
Director, Plaza Chiropractic Center
Old Bridge

Where and who you work out with may be as important as the activity you choose for improving mood and overall wellness levels.

In fact, mindset may well be the most important ingredient for achieving long-term weight loss and fitness goals. It’s nearly impossible to sustain, let alone achieve even modest short-term gains if you aren’t in the right frame of mind.

First of all, studies have shown that people who jump into weight loss and exercise programs as a quick fix to life’s problems almost never succeed in the long haul. An unrealistic approach to fitness and its rewards will most often not only result in unachievable goals, but also emotional letdowns and yes, physical injury.

The best results often start with modest, incremental objectives that combine exercise and diet with a positive approach to realistic accomplishments. Setting a goal of working out two hours a day, when you know you have neither the time or physical capacity to achieve such a task is a surefire recipe for frustration and giving up after just a few short weeks or months of effort.

Don’t set yourself up for failure. Start with short, achievable goals that can be sustained over time. For instance, organizations like the American Heart Association (AHA) recommend 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise as a baseline for controlling weight, fighting disease, and improving mood and sex lives. Others recommend two to three days a week of cardio interspersed with two to three days of weight training for making a real difference, especially one that’s noticed at the beach or pool.

Some people like to run. Others play tennis, bike or swim. The truth is that what you do is less important than the pleasure you derive from the activity. Unless you’re a competitive athlete training for the next game or big event, there is no set way to go about it. Just find something you like and do your best to do it everyday or every other day. You can even mix and match. Walk one day. Take an aerobics class the next. Find some time to lift weights in between. Don’t ever forget that you are the master of your fitness destiny. Being a bit selfish towards this goal is also totally acceptable. Make the time and stick to a schedule that works for you. Your life is as important as everyone else’s.

In addition, don’t underestimate the power of positive reinforcement. Many people enjoy the company of a workout partner. Someone who keeps you on track on the days you’d rather nestle in front of a TV with a bag of chips or provides the incentive to push through when you feel like quitting. Although they can seem intimidating to newcomers, classes that range from anything from cardio combat to step aerobics and Zumba are also ideal for the person who’s up for a new challenge or would just like to blend in with like-minded individuals.

Furthermore, don’t fall into the trap. Never let naysayers get in the way of your progress or enjoyment. Never forget that you have the right to be the person you want to be. The people who most often succeed are the ones who take control of their own destiny with purpose, determination, effort and common sense.

For more information on creating better, fitter and healthier lives for the entire family, contact the Plaza Chiropractic Center at 732-723-0023 or visit www.plazachiro.com. Our trained staff will be happy to work with you, no matter your age or condition, to develop a safe and effective wellness program that complements your life style and offers long-lasting fitness rewards.

Dr. Ira A. Shapiro is the director of the Plaza Chiropractic Center, which he founded in Old Bridge in 1984. Recently selected to the American Chiropractic Association Sports Council (ACASC) Hall of Fame and a two-time member of the U.S. Olympic team medical staff, Dr. Shapiro has spent the past 35 years providing safe, gentle and effective chiropractic care to tens of thousands of patients ranging from community members to professional athletes competing at the world’s highest levels.