Tips for Starting and Maintaining an Exercise Routine

Tips for Starting and Maintaining an Exercise Routine

No one can argue that exercise is good for us. Personally, I look forward to my bi weekly hot yoga at Yogaworks and wish I could do it more often.

But life happens.

And the reality is that it can be very hard to maintain an exercise routine. If you feel this way, here are some tips that may be able to help:

Choose an Enjoyable Workout

Just because your friends love spinning or CrossFit doesn’t mean those activities are right for you. The key is to find a workout that you genuinely enjoy and look forward to. Are you motivated by competition? If so, working out with a friend who challenges you or joining a group fitness class might be a great fit. Do you enjoy seeing tangible results? Look for workouts that come with progress-tracking apps like Strava for running or cycling.

Choose Activities You’re Good At

Humans have a natural desire to excel at something. Seek activities that you’re confident doing or would like to become more proficient in. This doesn’t mean you should stick to easy workouts—each session should still challenge you.

However, there’s no need to force yourself through an activity you despise. If you excelled in sports as a child, consider joining an adult league in basketball or soccer. If you’ve always wanted to learn self-defense, kickboxing or jiu-jitsu might be perfect for you.

Schedule Your Workouts

Treating your workouts as important appointments is crucial. Schedule your exercise sessions in advance, just like you would with any other commitment. Start with a few days a week and gradually increase the frequency. Setting a range, such as three to five days a week, gives you flexibility and prevents you from feeling like a failure if you miss a day.

Break It Up

Lack of time is a common excuse for skipping workouts. To combat this, break up your physical activity into shorter spurts throughout the day. Research has shown that multiple short walks have similar benefits to one longer walk. Instead of allocating 30 minutes to an hour for a single walk, take a few 10-minute walks during the day. It all adds up.

Set Little Goals

It’s easy to get frustrated and give up when you don’t achieve your goals. This is why it’s important to set small ones and celebrate your wins. Achieving these smaller goals regularly provides a sense of accomplishment and keeps you motivated.

Morning Workouts

Some people find it easier to stick to their exercise plans by working out in the morning. By completing your workout first thing, you eliminate the risk of other tasks and responsibilities derailing your plans later in the day. Morning exercise has additional benefits, such as lowering blood pressure and increasing energy levels throughout the day. However, it’s important to find the time that works best for your body and personal preferences.

Be Prepared

Remove any obstacles that may discourage you from working out. Always carry your workout clothes with you and bring extras.

Have a Backup Plan

Sometimes, unforeseen circumstances can disrupt your regular exercise routine. Prepare a backup plan for situations like bad weather or when you’re too tired to go to Planet Fitness on a Saturday morning. Find an alternative workout or class you can do at the gym or at home. Create a simple “bare minimum” routine that includes basic exercises like squats and planks, which you can perform anywhere. There are also countless online workouts available, either live or on-demand, to keep you on track.

Boost Your Energy with Music

Listening to music while exercising has been shown to increase the duration of workouts without a perceived increase in effort. Consider selecting songs with a faster beat to help maintain your pace during cardio exercises. If you find cardio monotonous, try listening to a podcast or an audiobook that captures your interest. This can make your workout feel more like a self-care ritual, making it something you look forward to.

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