I get it–in today’s fast-paced world, everybody’s busy…work, family, exercise…How do we ever get it all done? Many times we think it means that something has to be sacrificed–and often that sacrifice turns out to be exercise. But what if we didn’t have to sacrifice anything? What if we really could fit it all into our daily routines?
We all know that the hardest part of doing anything is often just showing up. And yes, when it comes to exercise, it’s easy to think up dozens of excuses to put our workout time on the back burner. But a very simple way to stay committed and turn exercise into a no-brainer is to schedule it in! I read in a few research studies where it can take as little as 18 days to form a new habit (but on average, it means 66 days for most of us). So penciling in workout sessions ahead of time (as you would an important meeting or a friend’s birthday) is just one way to get yourself in gear for the long haul.
Here are my Top 7 Ways to create your action plan for creating and sticking to a successful workout routine (in no particular order of importance):
1) There’s a calendar app for that–Thank goodness for technology! Whether it’s creating a Google Calendar or setting a reminder on your phone, schedule your workouts on your smart device to keep in check anywhere you go.
2) Use time wisely–When your goal is to make your exercise routine consistent, even a shorter-than-normal workout session is better than none. So if you’re short on time, go for quality and not quantity! High intensity interval training (HIIT) is great for a short exercise routine that gets your heart rate pumping without fighting the clock.
3) Be accountable–Meet a friend at the gym or to go for a run…book a personal training session…sign up for dance lessons. It’s a lot tougher to ditch workout plans if someone is waiting. And as an added bonus, quality time with friends makes the time go by even faster!
4) Be realistic–Are you one to hit the snooze button 5 times each morning? Than an early AM fitness routine is probably not going to last too long! Making sure it is a convenient time for you will help you to better stick to your routine.
5) Add some variety–Schedules are great when you’re first starting your exercise routine, but like anything else, even the most exciting workouts can start to get boring, thus making them easier to skip after a while. Whatever your goals or interests, try designating different days for different workouts (like a cardio class on Monday, strength training on Wednesday, and Yoga or Pilates on Friday, for example).
6) Stay flexible–Even the best-laid plans can go awry. Family obligations…work deadlines…travel plans…can all get in the way of your scheduled workouts. Do not beat yourself up if you miss a workout! Instead, focus on eating well, stretching, or making whatever healthier choices are possible until you can get back into the groove and jump into your next scheduled workout ASAP.
7) Have fun–Yes, seriously! No surprise here. The more enjoyable the workout, the more likely you are to stick with it. Don’t like riding bikes? Then don’t waste your time on a spinning class! A word of caution, though…give activities a fair chance before you write them off for good. Although the first 5-10 minutes of a workout might be unpleasant, the exercise high you get at the end just might make up for it (and thus, keeping you going back for more)!
So yes…working out can be hard, that’s a fact. But making time in your schedule for some fun, effective, and tailor-made “you” time can make exercising regularly a true reward…and not a chore.
And as always, if you or someone you know needs some guidance in how to start an exercise program or progress one to stay active, call me at (302)691-9055 or visit my website at www.wildermanphysicaltherapy.com to schedule your FREE 30 minute Discovery Visit to see how Physical Therapy can help. Don’t delay–schedule now!