Updated: December 31, 2018
By Kris Rich, NBC-HWC, CPT, CET
We may start our New Year with goals to lose weight, or start going to the gym regularly. People tend to start off strong and go all-in at first, but then what happens? By the time February rolls around, it’s easy to slip back into old habits. We all know how healthy exercise is for us and the many benefits it brings—from weight loss to added energy and stress relief, yet it can be challenging to maintain a consistent routine.
Here are 5 tips to help you stick to those resolutions this year and stay active:
- Define your “why.”
Figuring out why you want to exercise is a great way to develop your personal fitness mission. Everyone has a different “why.” It may be because you want to lose weight or because you are training for a race. Maybe it’s because you want to avoid chronic diseases that run in your family. Whatever your reason, the first step to getting and staying motivated to exercise is to identify your “why,” and keep referring back to it when times get tough. Share your “why” with those closest to you, so they can help you stay committed even when things get challenging.
- Make the time.
It’s been said that the number one excuse people have for not exercising regularly is “I just don’t have time.” There are 100,080 minutes in a week. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of exercise each week. This is a small fraction of your weekly schedule that can lead to big results. Remember, a 30 minute workout is only 2% of your entire day.
- Nix your excuses.
You may have tried many things to start a consistent exercise routine, or have fallen prey to a myriad of excuses to take one “rest day” that turns into multiple days off. A common excuse is “I’m too tired to exercise.” Luckily, exercise gives you more energy when you are working out regularly. Remind yourself that getting your heart pumping and muscles moving can bust fatigue and release feel-good endorphins, leaving you happier and more energetic. After all, it’s not called a “runner’s high” for nothing.
- Find something you love.
What activities do you really enjoy? Working out doesn’t have to be running on a treadmill or taking a spin class if you dread it and don’t feel excited to go. Find something you love doing—there truly is a type of exercise for everyone. Join a kickboxing class, play kickball or racquetball, or go dancing. If you find yourself in a rut, try something totally different such as yoga, bicycling or a new team sport like softball. Living in Michigan provides the opportunity for a range of outdoor activities during all seasons, from cross country skiing or sledding in the winter to kayaking or hiking in the warmer months. Remind yourself that a half hour of daily exercise can happen in a variety of formats.
- Envision your success.
Paint a picture in your mind of an ideal state of well-being. What do you look like? What do you feel like? What is going really well for you? Once you have that picture in your mind, write it down to make it concrete. Add a visual or even an inspirational quote. Then, put it someplace you will see it often, such as on the front of your fridge, on your desk or laptop or attached to your daily calendar. Remind yourself why it’s important to stick with your routine and keep the end goal at the forefront of your mind.
At Priority Health, we believe well-being is a personalized path to a healthier you. That’s why we help our members create custom experiences to engage in their health based on their individual needs, so they can live better. Learn more about our Wellbeing Hub.
Whatever your reasons may be for making your health a priority—family, well-being, longevity or quality of life—take charge and make this your best year yet. You are the only person standing in your way.
About the author: Kristina Rich, NBC-NWC, CPT, CET is a nationally-certified health and wellness coach at Priority Health. She works with members to help them develop a personalized plan for their own health and wellbeing based on what is realistic and beneficial. Kristina is also a certified personal trainer and cancer exercise trainer through the American College of Sports Medicine.