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7 Tips to Help You Stick with an Exercise Plan
In your post-holiday food coma, you swore to yourself that in the New Year, things would be different. It was time to get on the workout wagon. Chances are, it’s not the first time, so how can you make sure that this time things will be different? Here are seven ideas that will help you stick with an exercise plan in the days and weeks to come.
1. Set goals. Maybe you are just want to make regular exercise a part of your life to improve your health or feel more energetic. Or, maybe there’s a 5K race you’d love to participate in. Whatever your goal, own it. Write it down. Knowing your goal will help you decide which types of exercise and training are needed to succeed.
2. Schedule. How many times have you said, “Oh, I’ll do that when I get to it, I’m just so busy,” and then it never gets done. Exercise will only happen if you make time for it, and then ferociously protect that time. Remember consistency is key, so find a time that will work for you going forward. Once exercising becomes a habit you’ll wonder how you managed to put it off in the past.
3. Mix up your workouts. Do you feel like a hamster on a wheel running on a treadmill? Does the thought of swimming one more lap make your head swim? One of the biggest reasons people stop exercising is boredom. There are literally hundreds of different kinds of exercises to try. Keep experimenting with new things to keep your mind, and muscles, sharp!
4. Accept that it may be hard. If exercise were easy people wouldn’t put it off. There are days when you won’t be able to walk outside due to bad weather. Don’t let this stop you from exercising altogether. Anticipate and create back-up plans for the days when life throws you a curveball. Equally important to remember is that there will be days you don’t want to exercise. A day here or there is ok, but don’t slide down the slippery slope and give it up altogether. If you notice this trend, go back to step one and re-evaluate your plan.
5. Avoid injuries. Having the right equipment and especially shoes is critical when exercising. If you’re unsure how to use an exercise machine, please ask someone! Most gyms and fitness centers have staff on hand whose job is to help patrons use the equipment. Be sure you’re allowing yourself adequate time for rest and recovery between workouts. The quickest way to derail an exercise plan is by getting hurt.
6. Create a support system. Getting in shape can be more fun by adding in a social component. Find an exercise buddy, maybe someone with the same goals as you. You can encourage each other, share your new hobby, and meet your goals together.
7. Reward yourself. When you have a big goal to reach, breaking it up into smaller components with mini-goals makes it easier to accomplish. Celebrate your milestones with small rewards like a new scarf or indulging in an extra episode of your favorite guilty-pleasure TV show.
Taking the extra time and thought to create a solid exercise plan will help you to reach your exercise goals. Who knows, you might even have fun along the way!