It is the time of year when we set goals or resolutions. Have you thought about goals for exercise or to live a healthier life? The world of fitness and nutrition can be overwhelming, making getting started the hardest part. You don’t need to be a fitness or nutrition guru in just a day! Rather, take one small step at a time. Here are my favorite tips for getting started.
- Dress the Part. The simple act of putting on your exercise clothes takes you one step closer to actually exercising. If possible, invest in yourself and get a few pieces of workout ready clothing. Have it ready and available to change into and you have already taken the first step in the right direction.
- Schedule It. Make exercise a “when” instead of an “if”. Being busy is just an excuse. We are all busy! Make the decision that exercise will be part of your busy. Whether it is daily or weekly, treat exercise as top priority – just as important as going to work, paying the bills, or picking your kids up from school.
- Set Goals and Track Progress. Progress often happens slowly and that can be frustrating. If we don’t set measurable goals, we can feel discouraged and lose momentum. Decide what your goals are and set up check points along the way.
- Make Friends. Friends make exercise more fun. Whether it is a workout buddy that you meet at the gym, or a friend you text each time you exercise, being accountable to another person ups your game.
- Balance Exercise and Food. Exercise and food go hand in hand. One doesn’t effectively work without the other. Tracking what you eat and how much you exercise is key to success. There are many computer programs and apps available to help with tracking. Supertracker from MyPlate is a great option. The American Heart Association and the American Council on Fitness also recommend a few, found here and here.
- Listen To Your Body. Your body does a pretty good job of telling you when you are tired, or hungry, or sick. You should listen to your body. If you are injured, take a break. If you are tired, make sure you are getting enough sleep, and try lighter exercise for a day or two. If you are feeling extra stressed out, that may be a signal from your body that you need a good, intense sweat session to alleviate some of the stress. Paying attention to and recognizing these signals from your body will help you stick to an exercise routine long term.
- Don’t Overthink It. Don’t analyze every exercise move or every bite of food that goes into your mouth. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, take it back to the basics. Keeping it simple and rudimentary provides you with a good, solid base. A good, solid base is something that can be built upon over time. If you try to do it all and be it all, you will quickly burn out.
- Have Fun! Exercise is meant to be enjoyable. If you hate it, maybe you aren’t doing the right type of exercise. If you like to dance, try Zumba. If you like to listen to good music, use an iPod or mp3 player during your workout. If you like sports, join a basketball or soccer team. All exercise is good exercise. Find what you enjoy.
So what are you waiting for? Schedule your workout, get dressed, listen to your body, eat well, and have fun!
Certified Nutrition Education Assistant