Maintaining Momentum: Tips for Staying Committed to Your Exercise Program

New year’s resolutions around fitness and exercise are incredibly popular. The excitement and hope generated by the start of the year makes starting an exercise program easy. A few months later, staying with it may become a challenge. Life gets busy, motivation drops, and suddenly you’re back on the couch instead of at the gym.

You’re already familiar with the numerous benefits of exercise, which played a significant role in inspiring you to begin your fitness journey. If you require a refresher, here are just a few of the advantages to sticking with your exercise program:

  • 3 hours of exercise a week reduced pain and disability by 47% in people with knee arthritis
  • Exercise reduced the progression of dementia by 50%
  • Exercise reduced the risk of hip fracture in post-menopausal women by 47%
  • Research has shown that exercise can decrease anxiety by 48%
  • A low dose of exercise relieves depression in 30% of people, and a higher dose of exercise lowers depression in 47% of people

Understanding the importance of exercise isn’t the challenge; the real hurdle lies in the act of getting up and doing it. Here are several tips to ensure you adhere to your exercise plan:

Set realistic goals. Begin with manageable, attainable goals and progressively increase them. Setting easy-to-reach targets fosters motivation and cultivates a habit of exercise. For certain individuals, starting with a 10-minute walk each day may suffice; for others, a 5-minute walk may be a good starting point.

Do activities you enjoy. Choose activities that are fun. It could be running, walking the dog, dancing, swimming, kickboxing, pickleball, taking a bike ride with the family, or playing a sport.

Schedule your exercise. Schedule your workouts as you would for any other important appointment. Consistently integrating exercise into your routine enhances the likelihood of sticking to your goals.

Embrace support. Meeting someone at the gym or on the trail can be a great source of motivation. Supportive individuals can encourage you to push through challenges and stay committed, whether it’s a friend, classmates in a group fitness setting, or a dedicated trainer.

Add variety. Experiment with something new. If you’re accustomed to running at a steady pace, mix it up with interval training. Explore unfamiliar walking routes. Try a new class. Repetition can lead to boredom and burnout, so keep things exciting to maintain your interest.

Track your progress. Our brains thrive on seeing completed tasks, progress tracked with charts or numbers, and achieved goals. Visualizing your journey and how far you’ve come serves as a powerful motivator. Consider documenting your workouts in a journal, creating a spreadsheet, or utilizing an app or fitness tracker to monitor your progress.

Incentives can be effective motivators. Celebrate your successes, no matter how small. Aim to exercise three times a week and reward yourself with your favorite treat upon certain accomplishments. Whether it’s indulging in a cup of your favorite coffee, purchasing a new workout outfit, or any other incentive that fuels your motivation, find ways to celebrate reaching your milestones.

Adapt. Avoid pushing yourself excessively, particularly at the beginning. If you’re experiencing fatigue or soreness, dial back the intensity. Incorporate rest days into your schedule to allow your body adequate recovery time.

Don’t become discouraged! Setbacks are a natural part of the journey. It’s normal to miss a workout occasionally. Don’t dwell on it; instead, pick yourself up and refocus. With the right mindset and determination, you can overcome obstacles and achieve your fitness goals.

If you would like an evaluation of your fitness plan or experiencing aches or pain from recent activity, Northern Rehab is here to help you get back to the activities you enjoy. Although it is important to keep your doctor informed about starting a new program, a physician’s prescription is not required to begin physical therapy treatment. Call us today for more information and start feeling better today.