Adopting a few easy habits helps you stick to your exercise plan
You strive to do your best in all your endeavors – in your professional accomplishments, with your family and within your community. This all starts by taking care of yourself. When you’re feeling your best, you can give your best.
Just getting started or recommitting to your fitness goals? Fitness, when done well, blends into your daily routine. It’s simply part of your life, like brushing your teeth or walking the dog. Making fitness a lifestyle habit might mean getting out of your comfort zone. Here are a few tips to get you into the training zone:
- Make it a priority. You’ll need to start by setting and keeping your workout “appointment.” This appointment is a top priority. Yes, we all need some flexibility in our schedules, so there will be times you have to reschedule your workout appointment. However, it always needs to get rescheduled into your week. There is no delete button for fitness.
- Commit. Look at your weekly schedule and set at least three workout times. You’re building a habit, so the key is consistency and commitment. What do you enjoy? Make it fun. Surround yourself with energizing people and music. Join a group-training or group-fitness class. When led by a fitness professional, you will be assured you are performing exercises with good technique and then gradually progress the intensity.
- Be flexible. Take your fitness plan a week at a time. Remember, your goal is building a fitness habit so focus on making your workout sessions. Celebrate your ability to roll with the changes and still make fitness a priority in your week. Example: Initial plan was a fitness class on Monday/Wednesday/Saturday, but a work meeting ran late on Monday and you missed a session. Backup plan: Interval walking on treadmill on Monday followed by attending the planned-for class on Wednesday and Saturday.
- Remove the excuses. Pack your workout bag the night before. Keep your bag in your car so you can be flexible if something changes in your work or family schedule. Plan your snacks so you have good energy before and after your workout. Make sure you have a water bottle.
- Find community. You are more likely to show up and bring more energy to your workout in a group. You can find that welcoming feeling within a group- fitness or group-training community. Let your team of fitness friends push you to new heights in your fitness goals. In addition, you can become the motivator and encourager for others.
- Go pro. To take your fitness to the next level, consult with fitness professionals. Experience the results from scientific-based programs designed and led by personal trainers and coaches. Smart training maximizes your efforts and allows you to gain strength in ways you can only imagine after you’ve experienced it.
- Celebrate. How do you celebrate achieving your fitness goals? New workout clothes and new music for my iPod are my favorite ways. How about going to Zumba with a friend? Maybe it’s time to sign up for a 5K?
- Reassess. After six to eight weeks, reassess your current plan. Did you succeed at three workouts per week? Are you feeling increased energy? Are you enjoying the workouts? Now that you’ve established the fitness habit, it’s time to incorporate some variety in the workout types and get out of your comfort zone once again. Your muscles and your energy systems need new stimulus and new goals to drive the motivation.
Energy, focus, fun and community are all key aspects in achieving a fit lifestyle. These attributes are also the results of the efforts. Fitness is life running at peak levels. It starts with one step.
~ Janet Warner is general manager of Fitness Services at The Alaska Club, and an ACSM-certified health fitness specialist.
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