We all know we should exercise on a regular basis. After all, exercise helps us to maintain a healthy weight, not to mention a healthier body overall. Making the decision to start a regular exercise regimen is the easy part—sticking to it is another matter altogether. Remember to check with your doctor if you haven’t done regular exercise for some time. The very first—and most important—step in planning your exercise regimen is being certain that your physical health will allow you to exercise safely.
If you find that you’re having a hard time staying on your exercise regimen, the following are five easy-to-follow tips that may help you.
Choose An Activity You Enjoy
Let’s face it, if you don’t like what you’re doing, it will be all that much more difficult to motivate yourself to do that activity several days a week. Be sure you really enjoy whatever form of exercise you choose. And mix it up a little. Don’t do the same thing every day. You’ll get a much greater benefit from incorporating different types of exercises in your routine—cardio and weight resistance, for example—than if you try to do the exact same exercise 7 days a week.
Set Specific Fitness Goals
Make your fitness goals related to the activity rather than the results. You can never tell how quickly or slowly your body will show the results of your exercise routine. If you set a goal of losing 3 inches from your waist in 6 weeks, and you don’t achieve that goal, it’s easy to get discouraged. Instead, set goals related to the activity. For example, if you start out walking 1 mile per day, 3 days a week, set a goal to walk 2 miles a day by the end of your second month of exercising. As you gradually increase your efforts, your body will eventually show the results. Be sure to set the goals high enough so that you’re making steady progress, but don’t set them so high that you can’t achieve them.
Select A Regular Workout Time
Some people prefer to exercise in the morning, while others prefer after work or the evening. Whatever your preference for time of day, set a regular time and stick with it. Choose a time that fits into your schedule. Trying to exercise everyday at noon may be a struggle if you have a demanding job where lunch hours are likely to be short. Instead, choose a time that’s free from other commitments—one you know you’ll be able to have all to yourself each day.
Find A Support Group
For many people, it’s always easier to stick with an exercise routine if you know that other people will be joining you. Working out with others also makes your exercise session more social and, therefore, more enjoyable. If you prefer to exercise on your own, be sure you share your accomplishments with at least one family member or friend. In that way, you’ll still reap the benefits from a support group without actually having them there exercising with you.
Before you started a regular exercise routine, maybe you rewarded yourself with a dessert or a cocktail for a job well done. Now that you’re on a regular fitness regimen, make sure your rewards are just as healthy as your new lifestyle. If you’ve finally reached your goal of jogging 6 miles a week, for example, buy yourself a new pair of jogging shoes as a reward. If food rewards are more your style, make it a healthy, low fat smoothie at a local juice bar instead of alcohol or a high-calorie dessert. You should be proud of your accomplishments, and you should be just as proud of how you reward yourself for them.
Sticking to an exercise routine isn’t nearly as difficult or challenging as you might have once thought. It’s just a matter of making a firm commitment, following a few easy guidelines and getting it done. After a few short months, you may be surprised at how exercising just becomes a daily habit. Before you know it, you’ll be reaping the benefits of your exercise routine in how you feel and how you look.
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