I know it can be difficult to find the time and the motivation to get moving. With work, family and life in general getting in the way it can be difficult to take time for yourself to get active and healthy.

There is many ways to start getting physically active. I don’t mean go out and run a marathon but just start by walking after dinner, taking the stairs or parking your car further away. Every little bit counts.

If you have already been in the habit of walking and want to step it up a notch why not try a light jog? When I began running I felt like I couldn’t even make it three doors down. I was out of breath and felt like my feet were going to fall off. So how does one get over this hump? Well, start with good quality runners. Not the ones you have been wearing to cut the lawn but a proper pair of running shoes. Once you have that sorted try walking/running intervals. No one is saying you have to run 5km but start with around the block and use visual cues to switch between walking and running. It is great to go in with high expectations as long as they are attainable and you don’t get discouraged. Visual cues can help  push you further. They can be lamp posts, houses, drive ways or anything that is ahead of you to motivate you to continue. Start off with a brisk walk for two lamp posts then a light jog for one, then back to walking for two posts, then back to a jog for one, etc. Do this around the block for a week or two then increase the jog to two lamp posts and reduce your walk to one lamp post and so on. Eventually you will work up to more jogging than walking and eventually all jogging. When you feel comfortable, increase your distance as well. If you are going farther and finding that you feel too winded to complete a longer run than instead of cutting back on the distance go back to intervals of walking and jogging eventually working up to a longer jog. The key is perseverance and motivation to make it to the next driveway or lamp post. It is amazing how satisfied you will feel when you push yourself a little further every time.

When I am running I use a white line on the road by a stop sign close to my home to signal the end of my run and time to walk it off. As I come around the corner I keep my eye on that line on the road and with a little positive self talk I don’t stop running till I step on that line. I always get that Rocky Balboa feeling and I am tempted to raise my arms over my head when I cross that white finish (stop) line. I don’t actually do it but I imagine doing it every time!

Over the past few months I have been taking part in StepBets. Actually I have taken part in 3 so far and I find them extremely motivating. The main motivator for me is the cold hard cash I don’t want to lose. I know as soon as you hear the word money you probably ask, “Why am I spending money to walk?”. I asked myself this exact question but before you run (or walk) to the hills let me explain.

When you sign up you pay $40 (USD) and basically you are betting on yourself but you are playing against other people which is also part of the motivation. You receive your own personal goals and each week with the exception of one day you need to meet 4 active days and 2 stretch days. If you achieve these goals, at the end of the game (usually 6 weeks) you get your money back plus a little extra. Step Bet takes 12% of the pot but by the end of the 6 weeks some steppers have lost their bets for whatever reason and those remaining steppers split what’s left.  So basically you are betting on yourself to be more active. I plan to take part in 4 StepBets and when all is said and done I calculate a $20 profit. Not bad for getting myself off the couch and walking.

If you are not the betting kind try and persuade your family or friends to get off the couch and go for an evening walk. It is a great time to catch up on how the day went, make plans for a summer vacation or just a chance to get outside and some fresh air.

So grab your runners and get up, get out and get active!