By Anna L. Cleland, CSCS
Starting an exercise program is an important aspect to help you reach your weight loss and health goals, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming or discouraging. Here are a few tips for making sure that you can fit exercise into each and every day!
Schedule your activity. Plan ahead, in small increments, either the night before or once a week. Prepare for your activity by laying out your clothes or packing your gym bag. If you fail to plan and prepare, you plan to fail. On your schedule, visually reward yourself with a big star or a sticker (even if that seems silly) to show your accomplishment. Make small notes about how you did, how far you walked, and how you felt afterwards. Reflection will show you how far you have come.
Start small. Think about becoming more active, aim for small amounts of activity throughout the day. Begin wherever you are, sometimes that just means START. Commonly suggested, are things like, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking further away from your destination, walking to your coworkers desk instead of emailing or calling them, taking a quick walking break at work to clear your mind, walk your dog (they will love you for it), and stand or pace while talking on the phone instead of sitting. I am sure you can come up with other ways too…use your imagination!
Find an exercise partner. It may help to have an exercise buddy so that you know you both keep each other accountable. Make sure that exercise is your priority too, do not rely on them to take care of your own body and health, but, take advantage of the fact that you have someone helping you keep your mind off of the fact that you are exercising. If you have someone you need to discuss something with, see if you can go for a walk together instead of having lunch. Even checking in with someone on what you did for the day can be helpful. More than likely, your coworker or neighbor has wanted to find a walking buddy as much as you have, and they are waiting for someone to ask. If you cannot find support, consider a personal trainer to hold you accountable.
Have a “Plan A” and “Plan B”. Things do come up, and when they do, first aim to reschedule instead of cancelling. Think about this like having a “Plan A” and a “Plan B”, instead of another excuse. Plan A could be to make sure to walk on your lunch break every day at work for at least 15 minutes, and if something were to come up, Plan B could be to do it immediately after work instead. If you have a goal to exercise 5 days a week, Monday through Friday, and you miss a day, Plan B could be to catch up on Saturday. Life goes on if you are not always able to fit in exercise. Make sure not to be too hard on yourself for a missed day or two. Instead, aim to get right back to it as soon as you can. We tend to be most hard on ourselves- you have not failed, just hit a little bump in the road.
Try to take advantage of all the small things that you can do on a day to day basis to stay active. Being active can lead you into healthier lifestyle habits overtime and being able to maintain activity will be better for you than a stop and go or never go approach. Start small, keep it simple and don’t forget that you are responsible for your own health! Remember, you are fearfully and wonderfully made, and your body is made to move! Have a healthy and active day.