It’s hard enough to begin an exercise routine, let alone be consistent with one long-term. Between the change in seasons, fluctuating daylight hours, and holiday seasons, healthy habits can be hard to maintain. We’ve got five ways to help you stay on track with your exercise year-round.
Plan Your Workout
We often say things like, “I need to be more active” or “I need to be more consistent with my exercise.” But then, the next week rolls around, and we say the same thing. While these are admirable goals to have, action requires appropriate planning. Think about your week ahead and how you can plan specifically to fit in exercise. Plan the days, times, duration, and type of each workout. This gives you a clear picture of your exercise goals for the week. And you’ve already accounted for other obligations that so quickly fill our schedules. When planning your workouts, think about how you plan and keep track of other parts of your schedule. Maybe a physical calendar that you can write on works best for you. Or maybe, you prefer using your phone with reminders. Personalized plans are often more successful.
Have Alternate Plans
As we all know, the best-made plans can change. The weather doesn’t always cooperate, some days are busier than others, and unexpected events can come out of the blue. These reasons and more can send our workout plans right out the window. Think about what your alternate plans could be ahead of time. Keep these tucked away to use whenever you need them. If the weather is not conducive to walking after dinner, try a home workout instead. If your day is busier than usual and plans run into your exercise time, choose a shorter activity to complete at a different time during the day. Or, if you need to throw in the towel and skip your planned workout, reschedule it so you can pick up where you left off. The most successful exercise routine is consistent, not perfect. Thinking about your alternate plans before you need them will allow for flexibility instead of feeling like your training is failing.
Change Up Your Routine
Variety is the spice of life. We’ve all heard that saying, right? Well, it’s true with your exercise routine too! Changing up your workout keeps it from getting boring or mundane. When the seasons force a change in our usual routine, we often feel frustrated. Think about this as an opportunity to try new or different activities. Varying your workouts throughout the year can help avoid overuse injuries and hitting plateaus.
Choose Enjoyable Exercises
Making a long-term habit out of something you don’t enjoy or look forward to is difficult. While exercise might not be your favorite activity, you still find more success when it’s at least somewhat enjoyable for you. Choose activities that interest you and use that as a foundation for your exercise. If you enjoy the outdoors, find nearby parks where you can walk or hike. If you’ve always loved dancing, consider trying an aerobics dance class at a local gym. If you can’t think of an activity you enjoy, try pairing the exercise with another activity you like. For example, take a walk while talking with a friend on the phone or listening to a favorite podcast. Or bring your weights in front of the TV and catch up on your favorite show. Think about how you can make exercise something you look forward to regularly.
Accountability is an important part of staying on track with anything, and exercise is no exception. Whether you have a workout buddy, someone to check in with, or a calendar that your mark off, find a way to hold yourself accountable. You can use reminders, checklists, and goal setting. And whenever you’re feeling particularly stuck, it can be helpful to talk it through with someone. They’ll often help you see a new perspective or a new way to approach your goal.
Long-term exercise will never look perfect. If that is your goal, then you will quickly be disappointed. However, if you acknowledge and plan for life’s ups, downs, and everything in between, you’ll find more consistency and success with your exercise no matter what time of year.
Always consult with your physician before starting a new exercise program.
Written by BWS Lead Health Coach- Kelly Schlather, BS, ASCM – CEP
Continue reading December 2022 Newsletter: Holiday Eating