I would like to share some tips and advice for making “exercise” something that you will do for the long-term and become something that you enjoy.
1. Start Smart: Motivation to get in shape is at an all-time high at this time of the year. Most of us have spent the Holidays relaxing and eating way too much. Now, we have decided it is time to get back into shape. If you have not exercised in a while, it is imperative that you work your way back into a program slowly. The number one cause of pain and injury from an exercise program is training error i.e. doing too much too soon. Your body needs time to adapt to the stresses that you will be putting it through with exercise and increasing the physical stress more than it is ready for can lead to pain or injury. Don’t let this happen to you. There is no “dangerous” exercise as long as you have given your body time to adapt to that exercise or movement. Start slow, gradually progress, and you will be able to exercise the rest of your life pain and injury free.
2. Plan Variety: The program that you get set up with during your initial consultation at the local fitness center is new and exciting at first. The question you have to ask is, will it be 3 months from now? Most people quit an exercise program because they get bored. I am a regular exerciser and have made this a lifestyle habit for me, but even I cannot do the same thing all the time. For someone new to exercise who is trying to make it become a habit, doing the same thing all the time is not sustainable and they will not make the gains that are possible with a variable-type program. Find an exercise facility that offers you many options or gives you the ability to regularly work with coaches/trainers who will change and progress your program regularly.
4. Get Connected: There is something to be said for the importance of working out with a group of people that you can connect with who are working towards the same thing that you are-improved health. Working out solo is fine for some people but again, can become stale fairly quickly. Becoming friends with and having others that can hold you accountable for getting to the gym, is important for maintaining your program long-term. Find a facility that can offer a group setting workout where you move, get stronger, and progress with others.
5. Add Intensity: The cool thing about our body is that it is very adaptable and resilient. Once you have gotten used to your new program, it is important to add intensity to keep the gains coming. This can come from lifting more weight, going harder during the cardio portion of your workout, working out faster, and increasing the duration of your workouts. Neglecting the addition of intensity will not allow your body to respond the way that it can when intensity is regularly added. Again, this is best done under the supervision of a trainer or coach if you are new to exercise and to make sure that your addition of higher intensity is not at the risk of injury. Also, seeing the gains that can be made as you work out harder, will definitely keep you motivated.
7. Seek Help If You Don’t Know How to Start: Everyone can exercise-even if you have a previous injury or pain episodes that have stopped you in the past. You just need to learn what to do to get started. If you have struggled in the past with exercise because of pain or injury, let me know and I will work with you to help with your problem and get you started on an exercise program that is appropriate for you.
8. Focus on Health Benefits of Activity, Not Weight Loss: Multiple studies have shown the positive impact that physical activity has on our general health. This includes decreased risk of heart attacks, high blood pressure, depression, diabetes, cancer, and more. Exercise is better than any drug you could ever take. Focus on these benefits and not weight loss specifically to keep going on your exercise program. Weight loss will likely come as you progress your exercise program, but this can take a while and if this is all you focus on, this can leave you frustrated and more likely to stop. Don’t let this happen.
My goal of all of you is to help you increase your physical activity to become a healthier version of you in 2019. Consider the things discussed in this article to keep exercising through 2019 and let me know if you need any assistance.