Providence Health Plan's Will Bruce offers tips on reviving your health routine
19 December 2023
As the seasons change and the colder weather sets in, it's easy to fall out of your regular wellness routine. With kids at home on break, holiday plans forming, and outdoor exercise becoming less realistic, it can be challenging to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Will Bruce, Health Coach for Providence Health Plan, says getting back on track doesn't have to be daunting. "Small, simple steps can help you get into a good habit and can significantly improve your overall well-being," he says.
Research shows an inactive lifestyle can dramatically increase a person's risk of all-cause mortality and other chronic conditions such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure. "Exercising 30 minutes a day has insurmountable benefits," Bruce says. "It's a simple thing that maximizes longevity, minimizes the risk of illness, and can help you feel good and healthier. This small change can improve health and decrease the risk of premature death."
Here are some strategies to be successful as you restart or begin your exercise and nutrition routine before the new year.
Create alternative options ahead of time
Bruce recommends creating backup plans so that when exercising outside becomes difficult, you have other options. "When it becomes difficult to go outside to work out, plan on an alternative like getting a gym membership, investing in home workout equipment, or finding online classes you can join from home," he says. "This way, you won't skip a beat if outside exercise becomes challenging."
Set SMART goals
To ensure success, Bruce says it's important to set goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound — or SMART. "Setting SMART goals for the activities you want to do can be great motivation," he says. "Keeping up with exercise and nutrition may not come naturally, so planning goals ahead of time can make it easier to maintain and define success."
Find someone to keep you accountable
It can be easy to fall out of a habit without support, so Bruce says finding someone to help keep you consistent. If you have access to a health coach through your health plan, they can serve as a powerful support system and help you stay consistent.
If you don't have access to a coach, Bruce still recommends finding someone to hold you accountable and make your health journey more enjoyable. "Find a workout buddy or an accountability partner who can keep you motivated and help you stay on track," he says.
Accept the lapses
Bruce says exercise is a discipline, so most of us won't intrinsically enjoy it, but any difficult discipline can be easy to fall out of and hard to maintain. "Exercise is hard," he says. "Accept the inevitability of lapses but give yourself grace and come back to it."
You can learn more great tips from Coach Will Bruce on enhancing your motivation, overcoming ambivalence, and setting practical goals on the Healthy Bites podcast: http://bit.ly/3PQWtnJ