Do what you like. If you look forward to a particular physical activity, do it. If you like tennis, find an indoor court. If you like dancing, look into dance-based workouts like Zumba. Do whatever will make you move. Just because you know things like running and jumping are great cardio doesn't mean they have to be your thing. If you like what you are doing, you will do it continually. If you do not like what you are doing, you won’t do it. If you are not sure what you would enjoy, try a variety of activities until you find one that sticks.
Formulate achievable goals. Instead of formulating your ultimate goal you are working toward, break your goal down into smaller achievable goals. If you want to lose 10 pounds, think of it as a goal to lose 1 pound per week. If you want to add muscle mass, aim for putting on a 2-3 pounds of muscle a month. If you want to run a 5K, try intervals of walking and jogging to get to the first mile, then the second, then the third. Keep in mind that your goals may shift as you work toward them.
Share your goals with the people in your life. Share what you are doing with people around you. Having the support of others can both inspire you and hold you accountable. You may not want to report to your loved ones that you have given up on your goals, but you will want to report that you are working hard to get what you want. You never know who will inspire you during this process. You may even inspire others to join you on your journey!
Something is always better than nothing. I hear this question all the time: “If I can only get to the gym for half an hour, is it worth it?” My answer is always a resounding “Yes! It is worth it!” You can get a lot done in half an hour and it keeps you in the habit of exercising.
Treat yourself! Once you hit your goal for the week, whether it be getting to the gym 4 times a week or completing a 10 minute job without stopping, reward yourself for the hard work. Choose a reward that won’t undo your hard work, like a weekend getaway, a beach day, a massage, some new fitness gear, or a movie date. Regular treats will motivate you to reach those milestones faster than you previously thought possible.
It’s okay to be nervous, but don’t let it stop you. People are often afraid to try something new, which is completely normal! Nerves can often be beaten with some extra preparation. If there is a group exercise class you have been curious about but haven’t gone because you are nervous about it, ask someone for more information. By finding out more about a teacher’s style and the format of the class, you will feel more mentally prepared and in control. Even ask a friend to join you!
Ask for assistance. Many types of exercise are not intuitive. While your body knows how to walk without you having to think about it, it doesn't automatically know how to properly lift weights or use kettlebells. If you're a member of a gym, ask a personal trainer to show you correct technique.
Remember, if you have any concerns about starting a new exercise program, always consult the advice of an exercise professional.
Christina is the Wellness Manger at West Jefferson Fitness Centers, where she has been employed for the last 15 years.
She has a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology and a Masters of Education in Health. In her free time she enjoys distance running and all things health and fitness.
To find out about West Jefferson Fitness Center memberships, or to schedule a tour, call 504.349.6164.