One of the keys to a successful, healthy and happy life is fitting in a workout. But we’re all busy! That’s why it’s important to have a set routine for your morning walk, tai chi or yoga practice, or after-work trip to the gym. Making fitness a regular part of your day turns it into a habit you won’t break. Here’s how to get started creating your workout routine.
1. Start Where You Are
Take a deep breath, find a quiet place, and focus on what motivates you to persevere. If you can’t afford a gym membership or a personal trainer, there are ways to exercise at home to improve your health. Assess what you can afford and what will benefit you the most.
2. Be Informed
The National Center for Health Statistics reports that only 19 percent of the population participates in high levels of physical activity, defined as a 20-minute workout, three times per week. Make yourself part of that 19 percent:Subscribe to fitness newsletters, visit your local library’s fitness book section, or check out the web for exercise inspiration. Surround yourself with as much fitness info as possible. The more you know, the better you’ll be able to formulate your fitness plan.
3. Determine Your Goals and Priorities
Are you trying to lose extra pounds, trying to bulk up or just trying to stay fit? Goals help you stay focused and help you prioritize your workout regimen. Exercise, like all other tasks, must be scheduled as a regular activity. (We recommend reading How to Prioritize Exercise by Tammy Kresge.) Rank and categorize your workout goals so that you can eliminate unnecessary activities in your schedule.
4. Write Down Your Fitness Goals
Studies have suggested that writing down your goals can lead you to success! Self-Growth.com outlines the reasons why writing goals is so important: It helps you to target the areas where you need to improve, and making a detailed list of what you want creates a plan that can become reality and not merely wishes.
5. Be Realistic
Don’t set a crazy weight loss goal. Losing one to two pounds a week is recommended by most health professionals. Gaining and toning muscle also requires patience, desire and motivation. The best goals are ones that are attainable and are achieved through steady progress.
6. Devise a Plan
Be specific about how you’re going to get there. Will you be joining a gym, hiring a personal trainer, or doing at-home workouts? Remember: You don’t need costly equipment and memberships to stay in shape. Simple calisthenics can give you an effective workout in a short amount of time and can be modified to fit your body type.(Remember to consult with your health professional before beginning any workout routine.)
7. Make Positive Changes
There are a million reasons not to work out – sticking to your plan may be a challenge almost every day at first. You’re going to need to change some habits and routines in order to make room for exercise. Your entire lifestyle could change! For example, you may need to start waking up earlier in the morning, packing gym clothes to take to work and even skipping some of your usual social activities.
8. Have Fun
Work out with a friend to stay motivated and accountable. Find a motivational saying and repeat it as your mantra. Play music that uplifts you and gives you confidence while you exercise. Choose classes or videos that you enjoy. After all, fitness doesn’t have to be a chore.