Want to know the secret to sticking with an exercise routine? People who are successful at exercising choose activities that interest them, set realistic goals for themselves, and develop a fitness plan to help them achieve those goals. You don’t have to be an athlete to try these approaches – these exercise tips can work for just about everyone. Read on to find out how you can get more motivated to get on a fitness routine that can lead to a healthier, happier, and more fit you this spring.
1. Investigate your options for goals and challenges.
Find activities that match your interests.Want to walk regularly, become a stronger swimmer, start running, or work on your dance moves? There are many types of fitness goals and challenges, and many are free and some have inexpensive apps for tracking your training. The secret is to find an activity you like so you will stick with it! Here are some ideas:
- Design your own fitness goal: Some ideas are building up to walking 10,000 steps a day for most days, climbing the stairs every day to work rather than taking the elevator, or jogging a mile 3 times a week.
- Try a fitness plan: One example is the Couch to 5K ®Running Plan which tells people who haven’t been running how to build up to running a 5K (3.1 miles) in 2 months. It lists three specific activities to do each week. There are many other programs like this available online for no charge.
- Join a challenge: 30 Day Fitness Challenges gives free instructions on how to do daily exercises and how much time to add every day. There are many other fitness challenge websites and smartphone apps that are free or low cost.
- Attend a fitness class: Sign up for a swimming, dancing, yoga, kickboxing, or cardio and weights class. Make it a goal not to miss any classes.
- Feed your competitive streak. If you like competition, challenge a friend or join an online challenge, or sign up for a road race or walk.
2. Set specific and reasonable workout goals.
If you start with a goal that’s too challenging, you might get discouraged and give up. So, if you’ve never run before, don’t sign up to run a marathon! Try a fitness plan to build up to running a 5K instead. Make sure you start with small goals or challenges. Small successes will give you a sense of accomplishment and motivate you to stick with your plan.
3. Do a reality check on the goal or activity.
While the goal should be a challenge, the logistics shouldn’t be. Make sure you are set up for success by answering these questions:
- Do I already have what I need to get started or can I easily buy what I need (examples such as running shoes, hand weights, apps, or workout planner)?
- Can I do the activity in a convenient place, either close to home or work?
- Can I do the activity now, regardless of weather or season?
- Can I afford it?
- Is it an activity I can do right away or learn fairly easily?
- Can I commit to the amount of time it requires most days or weeks?
If you answered yes to most of these questions, you have a greater chance of sticking with the fitness plan.
4. Commit to a schedule.
Once you’ve chosen your activity and goal, you need to make the time to get it done. If you are going to walk 30 minutes a day or you are following a fitness plan that requires you to run 3 times a week, put each session on your calendar so you have set aside the time you will need. Record your progress in a journal, log or workout planner to help you stay on track. There are a number of fun apps you can use to gauge your progress.
5. Invite others to join you.
Having a companion join you in the activity may help you stick with it and hold you accountable. Ask family members, coworkers, Facebook community, church group, or neighbors to participate.
6. Choose your rewards in advance.
Think of ways to reward yourself for accomplishing specific milestones. These rewards may be the extra push you need on days when you are struggling. Stay away from rewarding yourself with food. Some positive reward ideas include a new item of clothing, makeup, new workout music, a home spa day, the latest issue of a fitness magazine, a new blender for smoothies, headphones, and a pedometer or other fitness gadget.
7. Be confident!
Even if you are not active now, you can gradually build up to more activity than you may have thought possible. Start slow, and track your progress. Recognize that each goal you accomplish, however small it may seem, is still a success, and those little successes add up!
Always check with your doctor before starting any exercise program. You can get advice from your Rite Aid Pharmacist about whether your exercise routine will affect your medicine regimen. Hopefully these exercise tips will help find a fitness plan that you will enjoy and stick with!
“Stay Active and Be Fit.” President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. https://www.presidentschallenge.org/tools-resources/docs/adultgetfit.pdf
“Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.” President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition. http://www.fitness.gov/be-active/physical-activity-guidelines-for-americans/
“Staying Focused on Reality, Not Hype.” American College of Sports Medicine. http://certification.acsm.org/blog/2012/september/staying-focused-on-reality-not-hype
“New Year, New Fitness Habits.” American College of Sports Medicine. http://certification.acsm.org/blog/2012/december/new-year-new-fitness-habits
“ACSM Fit Society Page.” American College of Sports Medicine. October 2013. http://www.acsm.org/docs/fit-society-page/acsmfsp15-3.pdf?sfvrsn=0
“Adding Physical Activity to Your Life.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Last updated: December 1, 2011. http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/getactive/index.html
“Overcoming Barriers to Physical Activity.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Last updated: February 16, 2011. http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/getactive/barriers.html