By Sujata Neidig, Americas Business Development Manager, Freescale Microcontrollers Product Group
As a working woman, I know that it’s easy to let taking care of yourself fall to the bottom of your to-do list. It’s especially hard to keep up with any type of fitness routine when you’re traveling for work. So after having two kids and starting a job that required travel—my background is in engineering—I became a runner, though I was never an athlete throughout childhood or early adulthood.
I needed a way to exercise that could be done anywhere with little equipment and could include my kids if needed. I also wanted to be healthy and strong for my kids, prevent physical issues as I aged, deal with stress and have alone time to force my mind to slow down. Thanks to technology (specifically the Garmin Forerunner 220, which is enabled with Freescale technology) and the fact that Freescale, my employer, sponsors the Austin Marathon, I went from running two to three miles a couple of times a week for exercise to running half marathons and then to running not just one, but now two full marathons.
I’m now really hooked and am training for my third marathon. It’s been such a rewarding journey to grow my personal fitness and have it crossover into my professional life. These seven simple tips have worked really well for me. I hope they help you, too.
- Take charge of your body. No one else can take care of your body but you. Taking care of your body is not just about physical health; it’s also about your mental health. And it gives you long-term health benefits. There is so much research that shows how fitness can delay things like Alzheimer’s and can give you a clearer state of mind and improve your mental capacity. Taking care of your body means you’re more fit, healthier and happier. Who doesn’t want all of that?
- Commit to it. It’s similar to committing to your education, to your career, to your family. When you make a commitment to fitness, you will see results. I’m now an avid runner and commit to my running routine no matter what else is going on. Being committed means there’s consistency, which leads to progress and results. Without commitment, you won’t see results. Without results, commitment wanes.
- Set goals and evolve them. You must set goals or you won’t know that you’re making progress. Take baby steps with your goals but keep updating them. When I started running, my goal was to run two miles without stopping. Over time, my goals changed. I started with 5K and 10K runs and then set a goal to complete a half marathon and then a full marathon. Running a full marathon wasn’t even a thought I had when I first started running. But over time, I adapted my goals; my new goal is to do the next marathon faster than my previous two.
- Make it social. We become so busy with life that we can easily fall into a rut. Working out with friends keeps you motivated and can actually be like having a therapeutic counseling session. Working out also gives you a way to make new friends from outside of your “zone.” When you add the social aspect to your fitness routine, you change your attitude from thinking of exercise as being a chore to actually looking forward to it. Personally, I’ve made amazing friends over the last year of marathon training, and I am very thankful to have them in my life.
- Motivate yourself. Find devices, people and methods that motivate you. For example, working in the high-tech industry I use technology in my running routine. I wear a Garmin GPS running watch that uses embedded technology made by my company, Freescale. When you’re motivated, you become passionate about what you’re doing and then you truly can accomplish anything.
- Find a routine. Figure out what works for you. What time of day do you feel the best? What activities do you enjoy? What fits your home and work lifestyles? Try out different things and find what works for you and then make it your routine. Schedule your workouts on your work calendar and on your family calendar so no one schedules over your workout time. When you’re in a routine, it makes it so much easier to stay committed because you’re in autopilot mode.
- Reap the rewards. If you don’t feel strong, you won’t be strong. If you don’t feel good about yourself, you don’t project confidence. For me, running has raised my confidence, which I believe has led to greater success in my career while also helping me to better manage my personal life. We all need positive reinforcements to feel good. When you make time for fitness in your busy life, you will see results. You’ll get sick less often, you’ll be able to keep up with your kids in physical activities, you’ll get better at your sport (running, cycling, swimming, etc.)—and all that just feels good.