Everyone needs to be active and exercise. Several strategies to help you keep on track are:
- Keeping your specific goals front and center
- Understanding the benefits of exercise
- Setting small achievable goals for those times when it’s hard to maintain the routine.
1. Know the Why
Knowing why you want to exercise, and what motivates you to exercise is key to keeping active and achieving your goals. The reason for starting an exercise program can vary between people.
What is your reason and key motivation for starting an exercise program?
- Do you want to increase your muscle mass to look and feel more toned?
- Do you want to lose 10 pounds / 5 kilos?
- Do you want to be able to do some of the activities you used to do?
- Are you trying to lower your blood pressure?
- Are you training for a specific athletic event or active travel holiday?
Unexpected barriers and a perceived lack of time are guaranteed to occur and threaten to derail your exercise routines and achieving your goals. Understanding your goals and motivations will help you stay on track.
2. Know the Benefits
There are many benefits to regular exercise that you may not have considered. Knowing these may help motivate you, keep on track and keep the habit.
- Slow the ‘ageing’ process
- Increase strength, power and endurance
- Change your body composition; decrease fat and increase muscle mass
- Increase well-being and happiness
- Enhance brain health and your ability to think clearly
- Improve sleep quality
Exercise is Medicine and is one of the best ‘drugs’ available, and it:
- Helps you maintain a healthy weight
- Lowers your blood pressure
- Increases life expectancy
- Exercise protects against many diseases such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke to name a few.
3. Know your Limits to be Successful: Set Small Achievable Daily Goals
Setting small and achievable goals is key to keeping the habit of regular exercise. There will be times when you just can’t or don’t want to exercise. It’s important to set goals that you can achieve even in the busiest and most time poor weeks. We call this setting the ‘minimum viable exercise’ (MVE). When you are consistently able to achieve the MVE goal, you will feel sense of accomplishment and this will set you up for a healthy habit that can last a lifetime.
Examples of the MVE goal might be to walk or run twice a week for 20 minutes. This may not be what you would first choose as your goal. It’s more tempting to set a goal of walking and running 5 times a week for 30 minutes. However, if you set a MVE goal that you know you CAN achieve 95% of the time, even when you are very busy or when other barriers loom, then you will feel a sense of success when you achieve the goal and you will be much less likely to drop your exercise routine.
Summary: Knowing the incredible benefits of exercise and then identifying specific goals you can achieve can really help keep you on track and stay exercising on a regular basis. Knowing your time limits and setting a small yet achievable exercise goal each week that you know you can achieve, will help to maintain regular exercise even on the time-poor weeks.
Best wishes establishing your health exercise habits. Let me know if you have encountered other benefits not mentoined here!.