Getting into shape

Tania Erasmus

Small steps every day can have a huge impact on your health and fitness.

There is a growing trend among people of all ages. It doesn’t matter if you’re young or old, lots of folks are choosing to get fit and stay in shape. For many people getting fit is a life change that they need to make for themselves and their families. The reasons for improving your health and exercising can be very different from one person to another. Whatever the reason you need to start work on improving your health.
Train at your own paceSven Mieke / Unsplash

Understand your reasoning to exercise

Losing weight, building muscle, losing inches — is a common goal for many people, and there are plenty of reasons to do it, but the hardest part may be sticking with it. It’s difficult enough to maintain motivation, but it’s even harder to stick with it long enough to see results. 

Getting a workout routine that you can stick to

As a fitness fanatic, you know how important it is to exercise regularly. But deciding to go to the gym may be half the battle. The other half is integrating exercise into your daily life. When most people talk about building a habit, they focus on figuring out how to do it. But habits aren’t made so much by deciding to do something; they’re made through repetition. The key to building a habit is to make it so easy that you don’t even have to think about it. Your mind doesn’t have to be engaged, but eliminating your mental barriers can make exercise feel less like work.

Have you noticed that it’s a lot easier to talk about exercise than it is to do it? Many people know what the right things are when it comes to working out, but when it comes to stepping in the gym and starting (or finishing) a workout, you find yourself overcome with excuses. 

Getting into shape has many benefits

Starting a new exercise routine can be a great thing for your overall health and well-being. However, if you have trouble sticking to a routine, it may be useful to log your reasons for having embarked on this new fitness journey. This is a simple action that can help you to stay motivated as you learn some of the benefits of exercise.

Physical activity has many proven health benefits. It can help lower the risk of many diseases, improve mental health, fight inflammation, and protect against bone loss and muscle loss. A study published this month in the journal Psychological Science suggests that exercise can spur you into maintaining healthy habits. The researchers recommend that mental habits be combined with physical ones to reap even greater rewards.

Exercise has benefits, both physical and emotional. Studies have shown that regular exercise can help boost your mood, make you sleep better, reduce risk factors for many diseases, and increase your overall quality of life. Exercise can also lower your risk for certain cancers, such as breast and colon cancer. So, it’s no surprise that those wanting to start an exercise routine often start with good intentions.

It is hard to stick with a fitness routine

Everyone is busy and needs a reason to convince themselves they can make time to exercise. Getting fit and losing weight are challenging goals, and there’s plenty of research to suggest that most people quit their exercise programs before they’ve achieved their desired results. The reasons people give for quitting their exercise programs are varied, but they tend to fall into five categories:

  • Lack of time
  • Lack of motivation
  • Lack of guidance
  • Inability to see results
  • Embarrassment

Understand your barriers and find achievable outcomes to overcome the obstacles. That’s why it’s important to plan with SMART goals.
SMART goals, which stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely, are the key to setting yourself up for success.

Goal-setting is essential if you want to stay motivated.

Writing down your reasons for working out is important because it’s easy to lose motivation when your goals seem too hard to reach. We all make excuses. We say we’ll start tomorrow, or next week, or next month, and tomorrow never comes.

If you’re consistent, you achieve better results, and it’s much easier to be consistent when you create a workout schedule:

  • Start with something simple. If you’re new to working out, start with a simple routine. 
  • Plan ahead. There’s nothing worse than having a plan in your head and then forgetting about it. So write down your workout schedule and take it with you to the gym.
  • Give yourself rewards. After a few weeks, reward yourself for sticking to your routine. Maybe it’s a new pair of running shoes or a DVD of a favorite workout.

What’s your motivation? Why do you want to get fit?

Once you get into a routine, it’s easier to stick to the schedule. If you’re working out in the morning, for example, you’ll naturally wake up a few minutes earlier. If you have a workout buddy, you’ll naturally want to meet up with them. And if you’re motivated by competition, you’ll keep wanting to beat your previous best time, or be the first to reach a certain goal.

Where do I start?’ sounds like an easy question. But it’s the hardest to answer. Your goal should be to improve your fitness gradually, so you receive noticeable improvements in the long term. If you overwhelm yourself with too much work, you’re bound to speed bump along the way. Despite common myths about exercise, the truth is that you should feel comfortable starting small. First, permit yourself to go at your own pace. Exercise doesn’t have to be over and done within an hour. It could be a few minutes of yoga or even just a walk around the block. 

You can work up to strenuous activity over time!

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A writer with a strong focus on feel-good local stories in and around the San Jose area. Animal Lover, Physical Therapist, and Local Business Supporter.

San Jose, CA

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