When you hear the word “exercise,” what thought comes to your mind?

When you hear the word “exercise,” what thought comes to your mind? Most think of fighting a battle with the scale to lose a few pounds. Others may think of how many times they’ve tried and not succeeded at losing weight. That turns working out into a punishment, and we need to change it. Exercise means much more than weight loss, getting skinny, or the response to eating too much. It means feeling good, keeping up with your children and grandchildren, having more energy, or lowering your blood pressure.  
Let’s focus on these positive life changes and making healthy happen this holiday season and long into 2019. For starters, put away your scale, ignore your weight, and focus on health-related goals, and why you want to achieve this success. Some great goals are: to be able to walk or run a 5k, to complete 10 push ups, or preparing healthy meals for the week on Sunday afternoons. As you work on achieving these goals, you can start focusing on your small victories and how great they make you feel. The surprising side effect is that while you’re focused on bettering yourself, there is a great chance that you actually will lose weight in the meantime.
Losing weight isn’t the biggest benefit of exercise though. Studies show that exercise can immediately improve mood, energy levels, productivity, and self-esteem. In the long term, people who exercise regularly are less likely to develop heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and many other chronic diseases. (ACE Fitness).
What do you need to do in order to reap these benefits? A huge misconception is that exercise needs to be hard, high intensity, and time consuming in order to be beneficial. The Center for Disease Control explains that any physical activity is better than inactivity and that an exercise session can be as short as just 10 minutes. Squeezing in 10 minutes of activity three times per day is just as beneficial as a 30 minute workout session.  
To achieve overall wellness, the most important workout you can do is one you enjoy. If you’re setting out on a new health journey, experiment with different activities, classes, and exercises until you find some that you truly look forward to doing. The options are endless: lifting weights, hiking, yoga, paddleboarding, swimming, etc. Your chances of success rise greatly when you look forward to exercising instead of viewing it as a negative part of your day.
Once you find a few activities that you like, there are a few tricks for sticking to your new program. First, schedule it into your day. Put it on your calendar as an appointment and treat it like it is as important as every other thing on your schedule. It cannot be the first thing cancelled when something else comes up — you should be your number one priority! Also, it is important to focus on how you feel when you’re finished and any small victories you have while on your way to meeting your end goal. The sense of accomplishment, having a little more energy to complete your day, and stress relief should be celebrated just as much as losing weight on the scale.  
Last, one of the best ways to succeed is to have an accountability partner. Working out with a friend not only encourages you both to show up each day, but it also makes exercise more enjoyable and is a social outing. Another alternative is to join a gym, workout class, or walking group. Working out with a new group of people can help build friendly competition and a motivational atmosphere, all while being surrounded by people with similar goals.  
Focusing on the variety of health benefits of exercise instead of just a number on a scale is a guaranteed way to earn success. Feeling better, being able to do daily activities easier, and taking fewer medications are worth adding a new exercise routine to your life.
Many people promise themselves that they’ll make important changes in their lives “after the holidays.” But why wait? Wouldn’t you prefer to feel good right now?

Julie Bradbury is the owner of Anytime Fitness in Osage Beach, Jefferson City and Lebanon.

Fun Ways to Work Out

- Rebounding
If you thinking jumping around on a trampoline is just for kids, think again. Using a mini trampoline, an instructor will take you through a series of moves that works the body in a different way. It increases strength, balance and coordination and improves cardiovascular function. Rebounding was popular in the 80s and is making a comeback.
Available at Abs & Glutes in Linn Creek.

- Bungee Fitness
Get fit by flying around the room in a harness strapped to the ceiling. You’ll burn tons of calories and have a blast. Using your body weight, with the help of a bungee, you’ll go through movements like squats, jumps, push-ups and other exercises in a more fluid way.
Available at SQeZ Juice & Health Osage Beach.

- Zumba
Anyone who has taken a Zumba class knows how addictive it can be. The classes are often packed with participants whose favorite way to workout is to dance to great music. One of the Lake’s best teachers Sherry Marose teaches a class in Camdenton.
Available at Lake Career and Technical Center.

- Glute Camp
Target that hard to reach area at this boot camp for your booty. Lower body strength exercises are designed to lift and tone those glutes and thighs.
Available at Anytime Fitness in Osage Beach.

- Kickboxing
What better way to relieve stress than punching a bag? It’s a full-body workout that will help tone your muscles and condition your body.
Available at the Tri-County YMCA in Osage Beach.

- Yoga
Hot yoga, chair yoga, restorative yoga … all forms of yoga seem to be popping up these days. It’s become a popular way to not only burn calories but also focuses on your mental wellbeing.
Available at Integrity Yoga Wellness Center in Osage Beach.

- CrossFit
If you are looking for something a little more challenging, CrossFit just might be the right fit. Strength and stamina are key to performing these high-intensity functional movements.
Available at CrossFit Magic Dragon in Osage Beach.