New Year, New You; right? Well it is January again, and are you wondering if you can really stick with your New Year’s fitness resolutions? If getting in shape, and staying in shape is one of yours, it’s probably not the first time you’ve tried it. I’ve spent a lot of my career studying why fitness programs succeed or fail and developing methods to help people succeed. So, Happy New Year, here are my Top 10 Tips to help you ward off decrepitude.
New Year New You Top Ten Tips
• Start slowly and go at your own pace. Staying in your comfort zone separates the pain from the gain. You’ll get the most benefit with the lowest risk of injury, especially if you’ve been inactive for some time.
• Find the right kind of exercise for you. Choose activities you like or at least don’t hate. It doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be as simple as taking a brisk walk.
• Pick a time of the day that is most convenient for you to exercise. Try to stick with that schedule. Studies show that people who exercise at the same time every day are more likely to stick with it.
• Before getting out of bed each day, take a moment to visualize yourself fit. Thinking of yourself as a fit person will help make it happen. Professional athletes do this daily.
• Keep an exercise log. You’ll get a feeling of accomplishment when you stick to your program and will be able to chart your progress.
- Wear comfortable clothing and shoes with good support. Cotton is a breathable classic. But check out the super lightweight fabrics like cool-max that wick the sweat from your skin. When buying shoes, don’t feel weird about actually exercising in them in the store before plunking down the big bucks. I can’t tell you how many pairs of sneakers I have thrown against the wall before I learned this.
• Exercise with a friend or family member. Supporting each other’s efforts helps keep you on track. One of my students loves to go mall walking with her friend in the early morning at speed and then coming back later for some retail therapy.
• Music is a powerful motivator. Pick music you love that makes you want to move. There are fitness music companies that sell CDs with popular tunes played at specific beats per minute. They’ll tell you what speed works for particular types of exercise.
• Consider professional guidance, especially if you’ve been inactive. If you don’t want to join a gym or can’t afford a trainer, consider a beginner-level exercise video by a certified teacher so you’ll see the exercises demonstrated properly.
• Set short-term, easily attainable goals, such as doing some form of exercise two or three days a week to start. Change your goal when it becomes too easy.
It’s rare when anyone succeeds at anything right out of the gate. That’s why “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” is a classic proverb. So if you fall off the wagon one day, just climb back on board the next. And remember you’re not a failure, you’re a success story in progress.
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