Though it goes without saying, with the start of each New Year millions of people resolve to either start or get back into a regular exercise routine. But in just a few weeks most have abandoned their resolutions and are back to sitting on the couch.
Here are some suggestions to help you stick with your plan this year:
- Exercise first thing in the morning. Many folks give up on their exercise routine because fitting it into an already busy schedule seems almost impossible and/or unexpected things pop up during the day, which causes even the best laid plans to go awry. But if you exercise when you first wake up, it doesn’t matter what else may end up happening during the day.
Plus, starting your day with 30–45 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise is a cornerstone of the mini-fast with exercise weight loss program that I recommend.
Make it social. Sticking with an exercise program is much easier when you make it social. So find a friend and make a commitment to work out together. You can agree to walk every day, sign up for a more structured program, or join a club. Bottom line: With an exercise partner counting on you, you’ll be more motivated to show up.
WATCH: Exercising with friends will hold you accountable and keep you committed
- Sign up for a specific event. Similar to making exercise social, if you sign up for a specific event—for example, a 5k run where you have to pay a non-refundable fee to enter or a charity walk that requires you to obtain donations from others—you are making a commitment to more than just yourself. That means you’ll be much more likely to follow through.
In closing, many of my patients tell me that exercise is particularly difficult at this time of year with the cold weather and short, dark days. I understand, but it’s no excuse. You just have to be creative:
- You can still exercise outdoors, but aim for the daylight hours and dress warmly in layers.
- Look into local health clubs, indoor public pools, and yoga, Pilates, and dance classes.
- Consider walking in malls or other indoor areas—many places even have organized “mall-walks.”
- You can also exercise at home. Use an exercise DVD, and rather than purchasing high-powered equipment, get some inexpensive hand weights, a jump rope, an exercise ball, or a mini-trampoline.
If you can get in just three or four 30-minute sessions a week, I guarantee you’ll start the New Year off right with less stress, more energy, a brighter mood, and better overall health.
Now it’s your turn: Do you have any other tips for sticking with an exercise routine?