Start with a goal and make it a S.M.A.R.T. goal. S.M.A.R.T. stands for; specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely based. The idea is to set a goal and hold yourself accountable to it. For example, if you’re just starting an exercise program your S.M.A.R.T. goal might be to exercise for 30 minutes, 3 days a week, which is the minimum that is required to gain a health related benefit.
Make it fun
Find sports or activities that you enjoy and then vary the routine to prevent boredom. Having a workout ‘buddy’ is also a great idea. This can add social time to your exercise and keep you accountable to someone other than yourself. There is a great quote from a new book entitled ‘Bending the Aging Curve’ the author Dr. Joseph F. Signorile states: “we have engendered in the American population an environment of failure. Rather than helping the public to see exercise as a two-for-one special, providing both health benefits and recreation, we have made it a second job that a person must complete every day or be considered a failure”. Perhaps you need to change your perception, try replacing the word ‘exercise’ with ‘activity’.
Make physical activity part of your daily routine
If you are finding it hard to make time to be active you may be falling back on excuses. Schedule your fitness commitments as you would any other important activity. You can also slip in physical activity throughout the day. Make lifestyle choices that support being active, use the stairs, take a walk instead of the golf cart, and get involved with clubs and organizations that keep you moving.
Put it on paper
Are you hoping to lose weight? Gain strength? Sleep better? Manage a chronic condition? Write it down! It is a good idea to keep an exercise diary. Seeing the benefits of regular exercise on paper may help you stay motivated. Record what you did during each exercise session, how long you exercised for and how you felt afterward. Recording your efforts helps to keep you focused and remind you that you're making progress.
After each workout session or fitness class, take a few minutes to savor the good feelings that exercise gives you. This type of internal reward can help you make a long-term commitment to regular exercise. External rewards can help too. When you reach a longer range goal, treat yourself to a new pair of walking shoes or new tunes to enjoy while you exercise.
If you're too busy to work out or simply don't feel up to it, take a day or two off. Be gentle with yourself if you need a break. The important thing is to get back on track as soon as you can. Remember it’s never too late to start exercising; the benefits of staying active are extremely important for maintaining muscle, strength and quality of life!
November Fit Tips
Fit Tip #1 Exercise releases endorphins that make you feel good about yourself. This is a tremendous bonus; your muscles and your mind get to feeling good!
Fit Tip #2 Set yourself a goal (a S.M.A.R.T. goal) then use your exercise diary to keep track of your progress.
Fit Tip #3 Exercise is safe for people of all ages; it is one of the most important things we can do for ourselves when it comes to aging optimally.
Larry Robinson has been a personal trainer at On Top of the World Communities' Health & Recreation Department for the past 3 years.