Health Care Question of the Month
Question: How do I create a New Year’s fitness resolution I can stick to?
Answer: It’s happened to all of us. You start a new exercise program, convinced that this is it – you’ll stay with the plan and reach every one of your fitness goals! Then, after a few days or a few weeks, you quit.
How can you keep this from happening and instead create a fitness resolution you can stick to? Here are a few easy tips from Columbia St. Mary’s Women’s Heart Secrets Exercise Specialist, Kim Beyer:
- Set goals that are reasonable and attainable. Start out with short-term goals like walking 10 minutes a day and then, once you achieve those short -term goals, set more. It is very easy to become frustrated when your goals are too big.
- Start out slowly. Pushing yourself too hard, too soon, can lead to injuries. Start slowly and gradually increase the amount of time you exercise, the amount of weight you lift, the distance you walk, etc.
- Keep it interesting with a variety of exercises. Switch between walking and riding a bike or even cross-country skiing and snowshoeing during the winter months. During the summer months, try water walking, swimming or water aerobics. Also, check out your local YMCA or parks and recreation department for other activities.
- Have fun while exercising! If you enjoy your chosen activities, you’re more likely to stick with them. Exercise does not have to be boring or something you dread. If you are not enjoying your exercise routine, try something different!
- Make exercise part of your normal routine. Schedule your exercise for the day just as you would make other appointments for the day.
- Get by with a little help from your friends. Exercising with friends, family or even your pet can make being active even more enjoyable. Ask someone to come along for a walk, take a class at the gym or go for a swim with you.
- Track your progress. Keep an exercise diary and record how you felt during your exercise sessions as well as what activity you did and how long you did it. Keeping a diary helps you clearly see the progress you’re making which, in turn, keeps you motivated.
- Don’t forget to congratulate yourself. Sit down and relax after your exercise session and applaud yourself for a job well done. Remember the good feelings that exercise gives you. Once you complete a short-term goal, treat yourself to a manicure, a movie with friends or another non-food treat.
- Don’t be afraid to take off a day or two! You’ll come back to your exercise regimen rested and able to perform better than ever. Also, giving your muscles a chance to rest and regenerate will actually make you stronger.
- Enjoy the real rewards of exercise. One of the best rewards of exercise is how you feel: stronger, more energetic and in control of your health. Exercise can also improve your health and possibly increase the number of years you have with your loved ones.
Click here to visit the Heart Secrets Web site for more tips about exercising.