Getting Started on a Path to Fitness – Part two
Starting an exercise program is a great idea. But boredom, busy schedules and other issues can sometimes make it difficult to stay motivated. Last month we read about Pam, 33, and her goals for taking better care of herself. Here are some additional tips on staying focused on your journey.
Keep your goals current
Setting goals is important, but it’s OK to re-evaluate those goals as time goes by.
When Pam was younger, she says her goals were weight loss and “just feeling good.” Now she’s thinking more about her cardiovascular health.
Your first and most important goal should simply be getting regular activity, Dr. Bryant says.
Beyond that, be realistic about things that can affect your ability to meet your goals, such as the amount of time you have to devote to exercise, what your current fitness level allows you to do, and your age.
Review the rewards
If you’re struggling to keep going, review the benefits and the potential rewards of your fitness program. Remind yourself of the reasons you started an exercise program, and consider how far you’ve already come. If the long-term goal still seems distant, focus on benefits already realized, like improved sleep, more energy and less stress, Dr. Bryant says.
Fuel your body
If you don’t provide your body with fuel, you may feel exhausted and reluctant to exercise.
Meals that combine protein and carbohydrates are best for sustaining energy. Aim for a balanced diet made from whole foods. And drink plenty of water throughout the day, the ACE recommends.
Break the plateau barrier
Sooner or later you are likely to reach a fitness plateau. If that happens, you may need to replace some of your current activities with more demanding ones.
Minor slips will happen. If you miss your usual exercise, work activity into your day another way.
Talk it over
Sometimes you just need encouragement from an expert—especially if you’re having physical discomfort from an activity that hasn’t caused you problems in the past. Discuss your concerns with your doctor or another health professional.
Don’t pause too long
Sometimes you really do need a break. In that case, the ACE recommends cutting back on your usual routine. You can substitute other activities. But don’t give up entirely, or you’ll lose what you’ve already gained. Once you stop your fitness program, the benefits begin to diminish in about two weeks and will disappear in two to eight months, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
If you’ve been a loner, maybe it’s time to consider joining a health club. Henry Mayo Fitness and Health has certified personal trainers who create exercise programs tailored to each individual’s unique needs and profile. Having someone else to help guide and motivate you will reinforce your own motivation to stay active. To learn more, visit www.henrymayofitness.org or call 661-200-2348.
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