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Set yourself up for emotional and energetic resilience with eight strategies to elevate your everyday with daily exercise and relaxation.

1. Exercise Early

I encourage everyone to make exercise a priority early in the day. You’ll be more energetic and less likely to be derailed by schedule changes. I don’t mean at the crack of dawn. In fact, if you have heart disease or diabetes, jumping out of bed and into your fitness clothes and out the door may be taking an unnecessary risk (See Ornish Living articles, Not an Early Bird? Morning Exercise Isn’t Always the Best and Take Caution with Morning Exercise).

2. Keep An Exercise Log

Note your activities and the timing. As you take notes, you’ll bolster your commitment and you can look back on your log later with satisfaction. Like a coach, the log may also reveal patterns as to when and why you’re being less diligent.

3. Plan Back-up Options

Despite our best intentions for a regular routine, our days tend to include some surprises. Whenever you can’t stick to your exercise program, think about a Plan B. It might be a half hour with an exercise ball and resistance bands at home, or a brisk walk outdoors after dinner.

4. Don’t Demand Perfection

Don’t let curve balls break your stride.  So what if your squash buddy cancels or you get stuck at the office and never make it to the gym? Go for that after-dinner walk and give yourself full credit instead of bathing in self-criticism.

5. Schedule a Goal in January or February that Requires Training

Make a goal for yourself to explore a new avenue of exercise, perhaps plan an adventurous bike ride, a destination walk or hike with a friend or loved one.  Enjoy building up your stamina in advance.

6. Find An Exercise Buddy for the Holiday Season

Even if you usually go it alone, now is the time to team up. Meeting up with a friend to take a walk or go to the gym will help you show up for yourself while having more fun and feeling better connected in the process. (See Ornish Living article, The Benefits of Sharing Workouts with Friends).

7. Schedule Training Sessions

If your schedule is tight, plan on training at least twice a month. Just two sessions in a month have kept my clients on track for the entire holiday season.

8. Go Outdoors in Cold Weather

As the temperature drops, it’s tempting to favor gyms or become sedentary. Some people think you have to be extremely fit to exercise in the cold. Actually, as long as you keep moving and dress appropriately, your body will warm up. Heart patients should ask their doctors for guidance.


Contributed by

Phil Hardesty
Exercise Physiologist

Have a healthy, happy and fit week!!

Better Health Begins With You...

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