Tips For Sticking To Your Exercise Program
© Joan Price. May not be reprinted without permission.
- Go for the Goals.
- Set specific goals and write them down. Then select an exercise routine that will help you reach them. Keep the results in mind and tell yourself: This workout is getting me closer!
- Get the Right Fit.
- Make exercise an extension of the way you live (or want to live) your life, not an abrupt change or interference. Your exercise choices should fit your schedule, lifestyle, and preferences. Find something you enjoy doing and can fit into your routine with a minimum of disruption.
- Set an Achievable Action Plan.
- You can't control how fast you'll get in shape, but you can control whether or not you show up to work out! Write down your action plan in wording that puts you fully in control: e.g. "I will walk to work every day this week," instead of "I will lose 20 pounds by the class reunion."
- Get Real.
- Be realistic in setting your exercise schedule. Schedule your week's fitness activities by looking at the ideal (if everything works out perfectly, what will you do this week?) and the minimum (what's the bare minimum that will get you the next step toward your goals?). Then schedule a routine that's in between the two. You can always add on if you have a little extra time and enthusiasm!
- Make Variety the Spice.
- Choose a few different activities to get in shape faster and avoid boredom and injury. If you do the same routine over and over, your body will adapt, then cease to progress. Overuse injuries may result. Keep stimulating your muscles and your mind with change. Once your workout ceases to be a challenge, add something new.
- Make an Appointment.
- You mean to exercise, but your day runs away from you. Solution? Set aside a specific block of time for your fitness activity, and schedule that exercise "appointment" in your datebook--in pen!
- Educate Yourself.
- Read, listen, and ask questions. Learn what exercises work most effectively and efficiently. Research has increased our understanding light years beyond what was known even a decade ago, so discard what your high-school coach said and bring yourself up-to-date. Be careful: Misconceptions abound, so don't believe everything you read in the popular press or hear on talk shows, either. Ask a certified exercise instructor or trainer for advice. One hour of a fitness professional's time is affordable, and he or she can set you up with a personalized program you can do on your own.
- Buddy Up.
- Need a motivator? Get an exercise buddy--someone who works out with you and counts on you to be there and stick to your program. If your circle of friends doesn't yield the perfect match, don't give up. Scout out coworkers, neighbors, relatives, your child's friends' parents, and so on.
- Ready, Set, Go!
- Set out your exercise clothes the night before. Keep a packed gym bag in the car or at work. Make it easy to stick to your program by having everything you need ready to go ...including you!
- Just Do Five.
- Do you sabotage yourself by deciding at the last minute you don't feel like exercising? Make a deal with yourself: You'll do just the first 5 minutes, then you'll be free to stop. Once you get past the hurdle of the first 5 minutes, you won't want to quit!
- Pump Off Fat.
- You may have heard that diet plus aerobic exercise is the best way to lose weight and maintain weight loss. That's only two-thirds right! Diet plus aerobics plus strength training equals weight-loss success. Several studies showed that a combined program of aerobic exercise, strength training, and low-fat eating reduced body weight and body fat while increasing muscle.
- Use Affirmations and Visualizations.
- See yourself as an athlete, or a habitual exerciser who finds joy in physical activity. Tell yourself: I feel good in motion! My body is strong and vigorous! Picture yourself as the vital, lean, energetic person you are becoming.
- Make Exercise a Treat, Not a Treatment.
- The best exercise is the one you'll do! Find a form of physical activity that you'll look forward to doing as a highlight of your day, not a chore, and you'll be more likely to stick to it. It might be a leisure or social activity, such as dancing, or a family fitness program, like hiking or playing ball, or a sport you used to enjoy.
Find more than 300 quick and easy exercises you can do whenever you want in Joan's book, The Anytime, Anytime Exercise Book.