Starting a fitness program is a difficult task for people. Staying on track can be even more challenging. Have you ever started a fitness program and then quit? If you answered yes, you’re not alone. Many people start fitness programs but stop when they get bored or results come too slowly. Here are some tips to help you stay motivated.
1. Set goals
Start with simple short term goals and then progress to longer range goals. Be sure to set goals that are realistic and achievable. It’s easy to get frustrated and give up if your goals are too ambitious.
For example, if you haven’t exercised in a while, a short-term goal might be to walk 10 minutes a day three days a week. An intermediate goal might be to walk 30 minutes five days a week. A long-term goal might be to complete a 5K walk.
2. Make your training fun
Participate in sports or activities that you enjoy, then vary your routine from day to day. If you’re not enjoying your workouts, try something different. Join a volleyball or softball league. Take a dance aerobics class. Join a health club or martial arts center. Exercise does not have to be boring. You’re more likely to continue with a fitness program if you’re having fun.
3. Mix physical activity into your daily routine
If it’s hard to find time for exercise, don’t fall back on excuses. Schedule workouts as you would any other important activity. You can also slip in physical activity throughout the day. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk up and down sidelines while watching the kids play sports. Pedal a stationary bike or do strength training exercises while you watch TV at night. You must find the time to be active throughout the day.
4. Write it down
If you are looking to lose weight, shrink your waist, or improve your aerobic conditioning, you should write down your daily exercise. Seeing the benefits of regular exercise on paper may help you stay motivated.
You may also find it helps to keep an exercise diary. Record what you did during each exercise session, how long you exercised and how you felt afterward. Recording your efforts can help you work toward your goals and remind you of your progress.
5. Train with a friend or in a group
You’re not in this alone. Invite family, friends, or co-workers to join you when you exercise. Work out with your partner or other loved ones. Play soccer with your kids. Organize a group of neighbors to take fitness classes at a local health club.
6. Reward yourself
After each exercise session, take a few minutes to reflect on the good feelings that exercise gives you. This type of internal reward can help you make a long-term commitment to regular exercise. External rewards can help, too. When you reach a longer range goal, treat yourself to a new pair of walking shoes or new tunes to enjoy while you exercise.
7. Be flexible with training
If you’re too busy to work out or simply don’t feel up to it, take a day or two off. Be gentle with yourself if you need a break. The important thing is to get back on track as soon as you can.
Now that you’ve regained your enthusiasm, get moving! Set your goals, make it fun and reward yourself from time to time. Remember, staying physical activity is for life.