Maintaining an exercise routine can often go the way of the New Year’s Resolution—it’s adhered to for a few weeks, then pushed aside by other, more pressing issues. And not having a doable plan in place can be one of the greatest deterrents to maintaining your fitness goals and keeping off added weight.
The following keys to maintaining an exercise routine will help you stick to your program, keep off added pounds, and give you a sense of accomplishment that will carry you throughout the year.
You’ve got to crawl before you walk, so don’t compose a plan that’s unattainable, unenjoyable, or both. Don’t set out to run a marathon in a month, or bench press four-hundred pounds by the end of the summer. Construct an exercise plan that slightly stretches your limits. Doing so will prevent burnout, and achieving it will give you a sense of accomplishment. And with accomplishment comes motivation.
If you’ve included only one exercise in your plan, such as jogging, it might get old pretty quick. Blending in several types of cardio and weight training exercises will not only prevent burnout, but doing so will work more muscles in your body. Also, exercise doesn’t have to mean your heart rate is 170 beats per minute (BPM) and you’re soaked in sweat. Regularly taking your dog for a brisk walk does wonders for your cardiovascular system.
Pick Out Activities You Enjoy
Exercise takes many forms, and can include many of the activities you’re already doing or would like to do. It doesn’t have to include running or heavy weightlifting. For instance, mowing the lawn or planting flowers can burn over 300 calories an hour. Heavy gardening, like landscaping, moving rocks or hauling compost can burn up to 600 calories an hour. A leisurely bike ride through the neighborhood can burn up to 700 calories per hour!
After You’ve Picked Out Activities, Pick a Friend
One of the very best ways to maintain an exercise routine is to work out with a friend. While it’s great for socializing, it will help keep you committed and accountable. Nobody likes to say I don’t feel like it today to a friend.
Set a Time
Carving out a set time every day will keep you on track in the short term, while solidifying exercise habits for the long run. You’ll quickly know and feel that a particular time each day is off-limits to anything other than maintaining your exercise routine.
Keep a Journal
Get in the habit of writing down daily your time spent exercising. This will help you maintain motivation and accountability. It’s not fun to see a blank page at the end of the day.
Lose the Guilt
If you miss a day of exercise, don’t beat yourself up. Simply get back on plan the next day. And don’t compare yourself to others, either in appearance or their level of exercise intensity. Your exercise plan is yours, and you’ve customized it with one person in mind.
Set short-term goals and reward yourself with a non-edible reward once you’ve achieved them. If you’ve set out to stretch your 3-mile jog to 4 miles, reward yourself once you’ve achieved the goal. It doesn’t have to be a big, elaborate or expensive gift, but consistently rewarding yourself will keep you on track and motivated. Just ensure the goals stretch your comfort level. If it’s too easy, you’ll know it.
Revisit the Plan
Understand that your exercise plan doesn’t have to be static—it should be altered and revised as needed. If you find your first draft is a little too ambitious, adjust your routine accordingly. And if you’ve outgrown it, you’ll want to re-work it to address the new, fitter you. Remember, the goal of an exercise routine is accomplishment and accountability.
There are many ways to maintain an exercise routine, and these tips will help keep you motivated and adhering to your plan in the near and distant future. But if you’ve found your exercise routine isn’t helping you meet your weight loss goals, contact Dr. Malladi. She’s a board-certified bariatric surgeon, and can help you determine if bariatric surgery is right for you.