Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Getting in the Exercise Habit

It sounds easy enough to start a fitness program and most of us have done more than one time. But what helps many people stay with an exercise routine to lose weight, become stronger or train to enter an athletic is that they have developed good habits that help keep them on track to reach their goals. Below are a list of ways that may help encourage you to get into the exercise habit.

Be Specific - Determine what you want out of exercise. Don't just say, "I want to lose weight and be in better shape." Set a goal.

Measure - You must follow your progress. Start by picking a goal of how many times a week you want to go the gym or pick a target weight loss and weigh yourself before you start exercising.

Achievable Goals - Start with short term goals such as losing five pounds the first month. This way you'll feel good about reaching them and then can focus on the next one.

Realistic Goals - Don't expect yourself to make major lifestyle changes to achieve your goals. Be realistic about the time commitment involved in going to the gym if you work and have a busy family life. You could sabotage your chances of success if you say to yourself, "I''m going six times a week to the gym."

Hire a Personal Trainer - If you're new to exercise hire a trainer to get you started with an exercise program. They will assess your current fitness level and tailor a fitness program suited to you and help you keep on track with your short and long term goals.

Train with a Friend - This could keep both of you motivated and accountable to the goals you're working towards. Having someone to inspire and encourage you helps to remove barriers and excuses, for example when you're feeling lazy and rather lay on the couch instead of heading to the gym for your workout after working all day.

Chart Your Progress - Keep an exercise journal of your workouts, and write positive feelings to counter any negative feelings about your workouts on days that you're not focused on exercising.

Don't Aim for Perfection - Don't fall into the "all or nothing trap" so if life gets busy or you're feeling under the weather it's okay to skip a workout now and then. But if skipping is getting to be regular maybe it's time to revise your original plan.

Modify Your Plan - If your plan isn't working maybe you set your goal to high or low, or simply aren't getting enough enjoyment as you thought. Maybe it's time to add some variety with other activities to motivate you to continue with your current program.

Time of Day - Try switching the time of day you workout if it fit conveniently into your daily schedule. You may have better results both physically and emotionally.

It All Counts - Mix activities of daily living (ADLs) with traditional training. Walking to pick-up your kids from school or riding your bike to work instead of taking the car.

Positive Reinforcement - Keep fitness and healthy-eating articles, magazine and books around the house for down time reading.

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