How to start the new year off on the right foot
If getting fit is on your list of resolutions this year, here's how to get started and stay motivated so you reach your goals.
You made a commitment to get fit – congratulations! If you're not quite sure how to begin, or have been down this road before only to quickly give up, here are some tips that can help you start your year off on the path to better health.
Do something every day. Commit to moving each day, even if it's just a 10-minute walk or 5 minutes of stretching. When a little activity becomes the norm, you'll be more likely to do more as time goes on. It takes 60 days to form a habit, so stick with it and you'll soon be used to exercising on a regular basis.
Find your fun. No one had to force you to play when you were a kid. And exercise should be fun now, too. Try a variety of activities, such as yoga, spinning, dancing, walking, swimming or boot camp classes, until you find what strikes your fancy.
Schedule it. Lack of time is the top reason people cite for never starting to exercise or quitting. Yet people who exercise regularly don't have more hours of leisure time, according to surveys. They just manage to make exercise a priority. Schedule your workout just as you would any other appointment.
Switch it up. Do the same exercise routine every day and you'll get bored. You'll also stop seeing results. Exercise works because your body adapts to the challenges you throw at it by getting stronger and fitter. Beat boredom and keep results coming by changing your routine every 3 - 4 weeks.
Enlist a workout buddy. Surveys show nearly 90% of people prefer companionship (at least some of the time) when they work out. Knowing someone is counting on you can motivate you to show up. Researchers at Indiana University found only 8% of people who exercised with their spouses quit a prescribed exercise program, compared to half of those who went it alone.
Work towards a specific goal. Motivation can wane when you're simply trying to chip away at numbers on a scale. Instead, sign up for an event like a charity 5k race that will encourage you to keep striving for your goal.