As January stretches on and many a resolute North American has lost momentum or given up on goals for the new year, an instructor at Simon Fraser University offers advice for weight loss and fitness.
One of the main reasons it's so hard to achieve fitness goals is because we think of exercise as just one more thing on our "to do" lists, says Tony Leyland, senior lecturer in the biomedical and kinesiology department at Simon Fraser University.
"I think people do tend to separate fitness or activity from their daily lives, and I think that is part of the problem," he told the Burnaby NOW.
Instead of thinking of exercise as something to be done at a specific time and location, like the gym, we should be incorporating more movement into our daily lives, says Leyland.
Take the stairs instead of the elevator if you work on the second floor, for example. Get off the bus two stops before home.
These are some of the ways Leyland suggests we can beat the chronic sedentary condition so pervasive in our society.
Of course, getting to the gym to get your heart rate up and do strength training three times a week is ideal.
But if this is your only form of exercise, it can be difficult to maintain as a healthy habit, he notes.
"It's that separation, thinking, 'I can't make it to the gym so I won't do anything,'" he said.
Burnaby-based personal trainer Shaun Karp echoes this sentiment, suggesting anything is better than nothing.
Karp says many inactive people believe activities like walking or taking the stairs won't make a difference to their health, but he encourages people to start small.
"If you're inactive, don't think that you have to run a 10 K, because you do have to walk before you can run," he says. "And if you have the goal that you're going to run the 10 K, it's fine if you're a person who might be able to (only) walk a kilometre this week," he said.
Karp says 90 per cent of the New Year's resolutions he hears from his clients involve weight loss.
Ultimately the most important factor besides incorporating exercise into daily life, is to pick an activity that you truly enjoy, he says.