6 Tips For Jumpstarting Your Exercise Plan

  • By Kim
  • 6 January, 2014
  • Comments Off

PennStateFitness

Happy New Year! Are you sufficiently recovered from all of the holiday shenanigans? I know, it’s official back to work for me today as well, and it’s always a little difficult to get back into a routine again. But, a new year always signifies hope, changes and improvement, right? A show of hands: Who made a resolution to exercise more this year? I thought so. I don’t make official resolutions, but I do think I need to step my game up on the whole exercise thing. And, when I say ‘step my game up’, I actually mean ‘do something/anything other than sit around playing Assassin’s Creed.’

I’m a terrible exerciser, you guys. I love cooking, watching TV, my cozy home and video games too much to ever want to leave. If my apartment could actually hold a treadmill or something, that might be a different story, but at the moment, I have to rely on going …. ugh ….. outside if I want some cardio. I’ve put together a few reminders for myself (and you too) to jumpstart an exercise program for the new year. This list isn’t really for those of you who already exercise regularly; more for people like me who don’t get out there very often and need some practical tips and encouragement. Also, I am by no means a medical professional or nutritionist, so please take all the necessary precautions.

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1.) Pick a kind of exercise you think you will enjoy: This one is a no brainer that we’ve all heard before, but often ignore. Why do we do that? We go for the fad trends that we’ve heard about, or try activities that don’t really appeal to our personalities. For me, I know that I HATE running. I will never be a jogger or someone who runs marathons. Thus, certain sports are out for me – like I’ll never want to pick up basketball or soccer. I’m also not super fond of gyms. So what’s available to me or what would I want to do? I like to dance, so any kind of dance class is interesting to me. Yoga appeals to me since you seem to be laying down and stretching a lot – I probably would be ace at that. I’d also like to take a martial art class at some point. While I hate running, I love to walk. I can and will walk any kind of long distances, so I try to do some everyday. Figuring out what you really like takes half the work out of it.

2.) Freshen up your playlist: I don’t know about you, but I absolutely cannot work out without some kind of music, unless it’s something that is supposed to be quiet like yoga. It really helps me to get my energy level up and keeps the activity I’m doing interesting. I can’t tell you how many people around SF have caught me singing or mouthing songs while I’m working out, like a crazy person. If you don’t already have an exercise playlist, make one. Be sure to include mostly fast tempo songs so that you are inspired to keep your heart rate up. If you’re looking for new songs, check out existing playlists on Spotify, the top 100 on iTunes, or ask your friends for recommendations.

Jog

3.) Pick a time of day to exercise that you know you can stick with: This is a really important one. I have a lot of friends who get up at the crack of dawn to exercise, and while it may work for them, it certainly doesn’t work for me. I can never muster the motivation to leave a warm bed in order to sweat. I found that the time period in my life when I worked out consistently was when I went to the gym in the later evening, or right after work. It worked for me, but might sound terrible for you, so find a time that you like. If you’re not sure, try out a few different things. Try the early morning wake-up call. Or maybe your lunch break is now your exercise break.

4.) Start slow and work your way up: I think this one is key for folks like me. I know it’s January and everyone is keen to go go go!  Really, I like the enthusiasm, but conserve some of it and be smart about it. I know all your friends might be doing it, but if you aren’t used to exercise, it might not be wise to dive head first into a cross fit lifestyle unless you have tremendous determination. Experts say it take something like 28 days for your brain to register something as a habit. I think that’s more or less true, especially if you are looking to make lifestyle changes, rather than temporary fixes. So don’t be afraid to start small and work your way up to bigger things. Maybe this week you start exercising a little. Then maybe next week you walk a little further. Then maybe the week after that you cut down on your soda or alcohol intake slightly. Little changes eventually add up, and I’m all about moderation

FitnessMiniFig5.) Steal that exercise time whenever you can: I don’t mean that you need to workout all the time, but there are definite little changes that can be made that can burn a few more calories everyday. For example, my apartment is on the third floor and I rarely take the stairs. I could, but laziness usually wins out. I could do better. I also mentioned earlier that I enjoy walking. When the weather is nice, I’ll often get off the bus several stops early to walk home. These are two easy things for me to do to get in a little bit of exercise. Having my own private dance party in the apartment is also not un-heard of. You can find some similar things for yourself – maybe it will be taking a short walk on your lunch break or doing some weight lifting while watching TV. Put a reminder on your phone if you need to.

6.) Motivate yourself with rewards: As you can imagine, I’m big on rewards. Treat yo’self should have been my slogan. Set a few small goals for yourself; they can be any duration of time. If you’re someone who brings their lunch to work or school everyday, perhaps buying lunch one day could be a treat for sticking to a week’s exercise plan. Bigger goal fulfillment, of course, should net bigger rewards. I say a month’s worth of good exercise should get you a spa day or massage. Maybe it’s a new book, a beach day, a dedicated weekend to binge-watching Scandal, or whatever you like.

 

Penn State Student Fitness Center via Flickr

Jog / Yuichi Sakuraba via Flickr

Lego Fitness MiniFig via LEGO

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