Every year new members come in to our clubs with the hope that this is the year they will make a change. They begin by putting their money where their mouth is and paying for a membership to the club. Then, they decide that they will come EVERY day after work rain or shine because they have paid this money and they will not fail! So, the first week of the New Year comes and they are doing really well. They have made it to the gym five days that week. The weekend comes and they decide to “treat” themselves with a nice long rest. Monday comes along again and they are back at it, exercising every day, feeling miserable because they are sore, tired and entirely miserable. Sound familiar? I see it every January.

After 20 years in the business, I have seen what works and what doesn’t when it comes to sticking to an exercise program. Here are a few of the tips that I have to making it work.

1) Be realistic – Know that beginning an exercise program is a big step in anyone’s life. Begin by making small changes, commit to exercising just one day a week to begin with. Whether you are going to a health club, or you’ve joined a walking club in your neighborhood. This way, if you can fit in two or three times that week, you have exceeded your goal and you have an immediate sense of accomplishment.

2) Ask for help – Many people try to do this on their own. If you didn’t know how to find something in the grocery store, you would ask for help (right?). The more you ask, the more you receive. If you have joined a club or a group, ask them for assistance. Many clubs offer sessions with a trainer to get started.

3) Hire a professional – Whether you are exercising at home, with a neighborhood group, or in a health club, you can hire a certified fitness professional to address your individual needs. Especially if you have any health concerns such as; high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, back pain or have had surgeries in the past, it is important that you see someone that can work with your needs. It may only take one or two sessions with a trainer to get you started.

4) Enjoy yourself – Too many times people begin an exercise program by saying, “I need to get in shape. I am going to start running.” Running is a great way to get in shape and burn calories, but it is also a very demanding sport if you have been sedentary for a long time. You may find that you don’t enjoy running and you give up your program altogether. If you do an activity that you can enjoy with your friends or family, such as dancing, swimming, biking or cross-country skiing, you are more likely to stick with it.

5) Change your routine – Now that you have a program put together and you have been doing it for a month or so, you find that you are bored with the same thing all the time. Now is the time to change you program in some way. Maybe you have been riding the stationary bike every time and you want to begin walking on the treadmill. Or, you’ve been hitting the weights really hard, and you want to start playing racquetball.

As long as you remain active, you are reaping the benefits of exercise!

Login to Favorite