Starting a fitness program can be one of the most important things you do for your health and well-being. Unfortunately, getting started can also be really difficult. If you need help getting started in your fitness routine, consider the following five tips that are designed to boost motivation and remove common barriers to exercise.
1. Make It Fun
The first thing you have to do if you want exercise to be a part of your life is to make it fun. If you hate running and always have, you probably won’t ever start your training for a marathon and, even if you do, you won’t stick with it for the long haul. Choose an activity that you enjoy, such as biking or swimming, or find some other way to make an activity you do not enjoy more appealing. Science tells us that music and a partner are the simplest ways to make exercise fun (http://www.realsimple.com/health/fitness-exercise/scientific-ways-make-working-out-fun). Partners add accountability to a routine, which can motivate you to get moving.
2. Stop with the All-or-Nothing Approach
Do not start your routine with the idea that you will spend hours a day in the gym or have a beach-body by the end of a week. Remind yourself that even a little exercise is better than none at all and start there. If the activity you choose at first isn’t to your liking, it is okay to try something else. Even mild exercise can have a profound effect on your mood, so just getting out and walking can be enough to motivate you to exercise more down the road. Forget about the finish line and focus on doing one thing well in the moment.
3. Be Selfish
It can be easier to let someone else’s needs come before our own, especially when it comes to something we don’t really want to do. For women, in particular, putting their own needs head of their family’s needs can be difficult. Remind yourself that staying healthy isn’t just a benefit to you, but to everyone you care about as well. Not only will exercise help you to live a longer and healthier life, it will make you happier and thus more pleasant to be around as well.
4. Get Detailed
Design your fitness plan down to the tiniest detail, even if you are only building a plan for a single day. Consider your fitness goals, the pace you can tolerate, time for recovery, equipment, and more. Put everything on paper and then figure out how to build activity into your daily routine (http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/fitness/art-20048269). There is always time, once you plan for it.
5. Monitor Your Progress
Humans respond well to metrics that measure progress. It is just the way we are. You need to come up with a way of monitoring your fitness progress that appeals to you. It may be as simple as a pencil and paper or it may include elaborate tracking of FitBit data and frequent visits to your doctor. Whatever works for you, do it, because monitoring your progress is not only a great way to motivate you to start your workout, it is a great way to keep you coming back for more.
The Ultimate Key to Starting an Exercise Routine
The truth about exercise is that the only way any of us manage to do it is because we like it. You have to find a way to change your attitude about exercise, and that is the bottom line. Once you look at your workout as a treat rather than a burden in your life, you will have no problem finding the motivation to exercise.