Exercise? I know. Yuck. I’ve recently embarked on a new exercise regimen … did I do so eagerly? Just super excited to hit the gym and work up a really intense sweat during a grueling workout?
But I am enjoying the benefits of feeling more fit, releasing stress, and knowing I’m taking good care of myself. So there’s that.
It’s not easy getting back into the habit of working out regularly, so I’m sharing with you the 5 steps that helped me hit the ground running.
(Not literally. I don’t run. Heh.)
5 Foolproof Steps to Get Started Working Out
1. Don’t buy into the notion that it is too late.
That’s critical, and something we can all fall prey to in this society so obsessed with the culture of youth. This can feel especially true when it comes to fitness. But we don’t need to sell our abilities short just because we aren’t kids anymore. In fact, studies show that even senior citizens who’ve never been physically fit can benefit greatly from exercise.
“Significant health benefits were even seen among participants who became physically active relatively late in life.” (source)
So there’s no reason to not get started!
2. Find a workout you’ll enjoy.
Now, I didn’t say LOVE (then you might be surprised and discover down the road that you DO love it … a friend of mine started running in her early 40′s and now loves it, and has run marathons!). But I’ve learned that you don’t want to try to make yourself a runner if you hate running. Don’t join a bootcamp class if you know it’s totally not your thing. If the “calm” of yoga makes you bristle, don’t decide you should overcome that.
“Finding activities that are enjoyable will help transition to a healthy lifestyle. This includes determining if exercising alone, with a partner or with a group is more desirable. Some people will prefer the accountability of a partner or fitness professional while others enjoy the solitude of being alone during a workout.” (source)
There are so many workout options. Find one or more that you enjoy and just keep on with it.
3. Set a specific, measurable goal.
For example, is a particular amount of weight loss? Running a 5k? Fitting into a certain pair of pants? Being able to do 25 pushups?
“Make sure the goals are clear, realistic, and concise,” says Sal Fichera, an exercise physiologist and owner of New York-based Forza Fitness.” (source)
Of course, you can have more than one goal. Once you’ve established these measurable goals, break them down into chunks. For example, when you can do 5 pushups, recognize that this is a milestone; you are 20% of your way to your ultimate goal.
4. Create accountability for yourself.
This really helps. Make yourself a chart and document each workout. There are also tons of free apps that will do the same. Also wonderful? A friend who will nudge/nag you if you aren’t reporting to them that you are on course.
“Focus on working toward your fitness goals gradually. Consider tracking your progress with a simple chart, perhaps listing the number of minutes you exercise each day. Your progress will start to show in the way you feel physically, and in how you feel emotionally.” (source)
I love building in redundancy, so I’ve got a few ways I’m making sure I stay accountable.
5. Reward yourself for achieving milestones.
When you hit those milestones I spoke about in #3, give yourself a tangible pat on the back. Something you can look forward to when you don’t feel like hitting the gym or putting on that workout DVD.
“Set up a non-food reward system to reward yourself when you accomplish one of your fitness goals — such as staying on track with your exercise for a full week or month — treat yourself to a movie, massage, or pedicure. (source)
You can do 5 perfect pushups? Maybe it’s time for a long, luxurious bath. And when you hit 10? Perhaps a facial? Knowing you’ve got these goodies ahead of you can be a fabulous motivator for those days when you need a little extra something to keep you going.
How do you keep your exercise routine going? Share in the comments!
Image Credit- Deposit Photos