For many of us, the beginning of the year is a time to renew our commitment to living healthy. However, it is no secret that this is much easier said than done. In fact, it is estimated that 50% of people beginning a new exercise routine will abandon it within a few months1. Therefore, it is important to put strategies in place to help yourself be successful in your exercise routine. Below are some tips to help you as you begin your 2014 fitness journey.
1. Get into a routine. Set a specific time every day to exercise. Write it on your to-do list or set a reminder in your outlook calendar or phone.
2. Choose an activity that you enjoy. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 30-60 minutes of moderate intensity exercise at least 5 days a week2. So choosing activities you actually enjoy will greatly increase your chance of success.
3. Exercise with a friend or in a group. Surround yourself with people that will hold you accountable and encourage you along the way.
4. Set attainable goals. There is nothing like working hard to achieve a goal. Set reasonable milestones and reward yourself for achieving them.
5. Progress your exercise slowly. Begin with an exercise intensity that you can tolerate comfortably. Progress your exercise intensity, duration, and frequency slowly, as this will reduce your chance of injury2.
Whether your fitness goal for 2014 is to lose a few pounds or to train for your first Iron Man Triathlon, just stick with it and enjoy the journey. Best wishes for a happy and healthy new year!
1S Lippke BK. Subjective theories of exercise course instructors: causal attributions for dropout in health and leisure exercise programmes. Psychology of Sport and Exercise. 2003;(2):155–173.
2Garber CE, Blissmer B, Deschenes MR, et al. Quantity and Quality of Exercise for Developing and Maintaining Cardiorespiratory, Musculoskeletal, and Neuromotor Fitness in Apparently Healthy Adults: Guidance for Prescribing Exercise. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 2011;43(7):1334–1359.