How to Stay on Track With Your Exercise Program

Have you ever quit soon after starting an exercise program? If you have, you are not alone. Lots of people start a new activity with the best of intentions, but before long, they stop. If you are sitting on the sidelines, here are some tips to help you get back on track:

Remind yourself of the many important benefits of exercise. Regular exercise

  • Helps you achieve and maintain weight goals
  • Improves your blood glucose control
  • Reduces insulin resistance
  • Relieves stress
  • Helps you maintain heart health
  • Helps reduce high blood pressure
  • Reduces high cholesterol
  • Relieves feelings of depression and anxiety
  • Lowers the risk of developing many types of cancer
  • Improves the quality of your sleep
  • Maintains muscle, bone and joint health

Set achievable goals
Take “baby steps.” Start by walking 10 minutes each day. Gradually increase your time and intensity. Soon, you will be walking 45 minutes each day and can go on to challenge yourself even more, if desired.

Block out the time in your appointment book or PDA
Would you ever miss an important business meeting? Exercise is an important health “appointment.” Let others know that this time is non-negotiable.

Make it easy by being organized
Keep a gym bag packed and ready in your car so you can head to the gym without delay. Do you work out at home? Hang your workout gear at the front of your closet.

Enlist a friend
You are more likely to stick with your program if you do it with a pal. Or find a buddy who isn’t local and remind each other to exercise via phone or e-mail.

Keep it positive
Don’t lose hope if you don’t see immediate results. You may not meet your weight goal as quickly as you want, but you still reap the many benefits of regular physical activity.

Choose something fun
There are many great ways to increase your physical activity. Want to tango or belly dance? Enjoy swimming, ice skating or tennis? Browse through the catalog of classes offered at your local community center to get new workout ideas. If you are goal oriented, sign up for a charity marathon. Organizations usually set weekly training goals and many will help connect you with workout partners in your area.

Charge up your day
Walk, bike or take the bus instead of driving when possible. Park your car at the back of the lot and walk to your destination. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Go for a walk with your family after dinner instead of sitting on the couch watching television. When you do watch TV, get up and dance or use your hand weights and stretch during the commercials. Try to add some physical activity wherever you can. Every little bit counts.

Reward yourself
Mark the calendar when you meet your physical activity goal for the day. When you fill up the entire week with stars or checkmarks, reward yourself with a movie rental, some extra time with a good book or a long hot bath. You’ve worked hard and deserve it. Soon you’ll find that the good feeling you get from exercising is its own reward.

Sticking to an exercise program can be challenging, but it is worth the effort. Take it one day at a time, start small, and acknowledge yourself for each and every success. You can do it!

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