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8 Pieces Of Expert Fitness Advice For 2023

Best fitness advice

Looking back on yet another year of navigating life through a pandemic, you might feel as though fitness remained on the back burner or that you generally didn’t get to move as much as you had hoped. But that’s okay—with a new year comes a new chance to hit the reset button and refresh both your wellness goals and how you think about them.

Here are eight pieces of expert advice on fitness from our Forbes Health Advisory Board members to help inspire you to get moving in 2023.

Put in a Daily Effort

“Exercise is of particular importance as we age,” says Robert Lahita, the director of the Institute for Autoimmune and Rheumatic Disease at St. Joseph’s Health in Paterson, New Jersey. “Remember: It doesn’t mean running marathons or Spartan races. It needs to be a daily effort to work the body in favor of the biological soul—to let go, relax the brain, stress the body in a good way and luxuriate in the flow of hormones, endorphins and cytokines.”

Use the Right Gear

“Many New Year’s resolutions revolve around being more active, and having the right support for that activity can help prevent injuries and keep you on track for your goals,” says Mehgan Susek, a podiatrist and wound care specialist in Pennsylvania. “Make sure to use shoe gear that’s designed for the sport or fitness activity you choose to pursue.”

“Check your current shoe gear and make sure to replace shoes or inserts when they show signs of wear or have surpassed the recommended number of hours/miles of use, as shoe gear can wear out and lead to problems,” she adds. “And don’t ignore foot or ankle pain—see your health care provider for any aches or injuries to help avoid further complications.”

Tune Into Your Motivation

“It’s so easy to come up with reasons not to work out on any given day, but try not to talk yourself out of it,” suggests Rachel Tavel, a doctor of physical therapy and certified strength and conditioning specialist in New York City. “If you need motivation, take a moment to reflect on how you feel physically and mentally after your next workout. Do a ‘before’ and ‘after’ assessment. Capture it in writing. Then, use it as your motivation the next time you’re wavering.”

“It’s okay to not feel like exercising, but sometimes, that’s the only time in the day you have,” she adds. “So go. Do it for the version of you waiting on the other side of the workout.”

Focus on the Feel

“As we start the new year, try focusing on short-term goals of how you want to feel rather than how you want to look,” advises Jaspal Singh, M.D., a triple-board certified physician specializing in physical medicine and rehabilitation, sports medicine and pain medicine in New York City. “When we focus on only the outward benefits of exercise rather than the health benefits, these goals fall through.”

Do It for Your Brain Health

“Physical activity that increases your heart rate improves blood flow, and a well-oxygenated brain is a healthy brain,” says Phillip Stieg, M.D., a board-certified neurosurgeon with expertise in cerebrovascular disorders, brain tumors and skull base surgery. “Regular exercise can also help maintain your brain’s volume—it slows down the shrinkage that’s a natural part of aging and increases the size of the hippocampus, which is involved in verbal memory, learning and emotions.”

“Exercise has been shown to lower the levels of the stress hormone cortisol—an excess of which speeds up the aging process,” he adds. “Aim for 30 minutes of low-impact activity on most days, with a moderate intensity that gets your heart rate up to 120 beats a minute, adding in stretching and balance routines to stay flexible and steady on your feet.”

Value Your Time

“I talk to patients all day about the importance of exercise, and the most common excuse I get is, ‘I don’t have time’ or, ‘I’m too busy,’” notes Micah Eimer, M.D., an experienced general cardiologist in Illinois. “I pose the following question: ‘What if Steve from accounting randomly wanted to meet with you next Wednesday for 45 minutes?’ Most patients say they would take the meeting. I then point out that they would make time for someone else, but can’t find time for themselves to exercise. Be more judicious with your time—make an appointment with yourself in the same way you’d accept an appointment with Steve.”

The Movement Matters More Than the Outcome

“I just read this new, fascinating study on how our genes affect our fitness outcomes, and I think that connection can help us all realize that unique gene expression makes us one of a kind, so we shouldn’t get hung up on comparing ourselves to others,” says Sabrena Jo, the senior director of science and research at the American Council on Exercise (ACE). “Regular exercise improves health and fitness, and we don’t have complete control over how our bodies will respond. These findings open us up to enjoying movement more while focusing less on the outcomes.”

“Finding ways to incorporate physical activity into your lifestyle, whether it’s in the form of structured exercise or spending less time sitting, should be a function of how well it suits your values and preferences and less about appearance or performance outcomes,” she adds.  “Improved health will result from consistent participation in physical activity, regardless of your genetics.”

A Short and Sweet Reminder

“The single best thing you can do to improve your health is… drumroll please… exercise,” concludes Jose Antonio, Ph.D., CEO and co-founder of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. “And the single best dietary approach to improving your body composition is protein.”

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