Take it to the next level: Your guide to an active lifestyle in Charlotte

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Because it has never been easier to be lazy, the struggle to stay active is real. While you may have the desire to be more active, it’s hard to fight the urge to binge watch Netflix and order in food.

Luckily, we live in a city with tons of opportunities to add more activity and healthy fun to our daily lives.

Whether you’re a total couch potato or you’re just looking to mix things up, it’s easier than you think to get motivated, get active – and take things to the next level.

One of the keys to being healthy is to have fun. So, to help you get started, we teamed up with Carolinas HealthCare System to create a guide filled with ideas and expert tips that will keep you moving throughout the Queen City and, hopefully, take your fitness routine to the next level.

Find motivation to take the first step

So you want to get active? Finding the motivation to get started can often be the hardest part. Erin Haynes, DO, a primary care doctor at Carolinas HealthCare System’s Charlotte Medical Clinic in Mint Hill, shared some tips to help you discover that motivation:

Know why being active is so important
Dr. Haynes notes there are several health benefits tied to an active lifestyle. Here are just a few:

  • Weight loss
  • Improved mood
  • Less stress
  • Better sleep patterns
  • More energy
  • Reduced risk of heart disease or stroke (leading causes of death in the U.S.)

Bring a friend (or a pet) to hold yourself accountable
Accountability is really important while you’re trying to become more active. Dr. Haynes recommends working out regularly with a friend, or bringing your dog to make exercise more enjoyable.

Investigate how much time you waste
If you take a hard look at your daily routine, how much time are you wasting? Seeing the wasted time in your schedule will make it easier for you to carve out 30-60 minutes for exercise.

Discover something new
Becoming more active means you can try out new things and potentially find something you love doing, a new hobby. What’s more motivating than that?

It’s not all or nothing
Any exercise is better than no exercise.  The curse of the perfectionist is thinking you need to have a fully formed plan and can perform the recommended number of minutes of exercise as a beginner. Just get out there!  Dr. Haynes assured us, 5 minutes is better than no minutes. We’ll take it.

Focus on beginner-friendly workouts

If you’re just entering the realm of fitness, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. There are tons of different studios and fitness trends out there but you’ll want to ease your way in. Here are some non-intimidating places to start:

Join the Y
The Greater Charlotte YMCA offers a huge variety of classes, all at different fitness levels. You can try out some different style classes to see what you like best. Once you find a workout you like, you can build your way up to more intermediate levels. Memberships are reasonably priced and there are locations all over Charlotte. Find membership info here.

Try out ClassPass
ClassPass is a monthly membership that allows you to try out different fitness studios in Charlotte. The ClassPass app lets you look up class schedules and reserve your spot. If you reserve and don’t show up, you lose that class so it’s good at keeping you accountable. Memberships start as low as $30/month. Check it out here.

Go to a STAX Bootcamp
Every Monday and Wednesday, STAX offers a free bootcamp at 6:30 pm. The workout itself can be altered to your fitness level and you can bring as many friends as you want. It’s a very motivating environment to help jumpstart your new active lifestyle. Find more info here.

Try out some pop-up yoga
NC Yoga Bar offers classes throughout the week at Charlotte hot spots like McGill Rose Garden and the Mint Museum Uptown. The Whitewater Center also offers yoga throughout the week for free. It’s a great way to give yoga a try without the commitment of a pricey studio membership.

Make simple lifestyle changes

Beyond starting a new workout regime, there are lots of small ways you can step up your active lifestyle game. Here are some ideas:

Take the stairs
Whether you’re at work or at the mall, opt for the stairs whenever possible instead of the escalator or elevator. It might seem small but it still counts for something.

Change up your commute
Depending on where you live, see how you can create a more active commute. Maybe it’s taking the light rail and walking or riding your bike. Or maybe it’s parking further away from your work building. Try it out once a week at first.

Have a walking meeting
Need to schedule a meeting with someone? Suggest a walking meeting instead of sitting down at a table. You can grab some iced coffee and stroll around the block. Oxygen and ideas flow better when walking, especially outdoors.

Try out a standing desk
They say sitting is the new smoking and a standing desk is a great way to break up the 8 hours or more of sitting you might be doing every day. There are many standing desk options that can be purchased online or try a DIY option.