5 Tips to Recommit to Your Workout Routine in 2016
Posted on 06 January 2016
Every New Year brings about new commitments to improve health and wellness. Yet for many well-meaning people these fitness-focused resolutions fade before February even begins. Let 2016 be the year that you revolutionize your resolutions by establishing a regular routine of physical activity that you enjoy and can readily commit to for the long-haul. Here are five practical tips to help you get started:
Make a mental shift: One of the biggest barriers people face is the “all of nothing” mentality, which is especially prevalent at this time of year. Often people assume that in order to see a meaningful difference in their fitness they have to commit to spending at least 60 minutes a day at the gym performing intense workouts or they might as well not be active at all. The reality is, research has shown that even small bouts of physical activity, as little as 10 minutes at a time, accumulated throughout the day has great benefits in terms of improving health and wellness. Adopting a more flexible approach to fitness starts with shifting your mindset about what an active, healthful lifestyle looks like, as small changes done consistently really to lead to big results.
Establish a plan: In order to establish and adhere to a consistent workout routine is, it’s important to set realistic goals and establishing a specific plan of action. When crafting goals, ensure they are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. Once your goals are established, take some time to map out a workout schedule that supports your SMART goals and meets your personal needs and preferences. For example, if you dread the idea of running on a treadmill but aspire to improve your cardiorespiratory fitness, consider identifying and committing to attending specific indoor cycling or dance-based fitness classes at your local gym that are held on days/times that work for your schedule.
Prioritize your fitness: While having a reasonable plan is important, it’s critical that your workouts be viewed as a priority. Schedule your workout sessions on your calendar just as you would a doctor’s appointment or a meeting with your boss, and treat your dedicated exercise time with that same level of commitment and importance. Resist the temptation to move your workout sessions to accommodate other tasks in your day, and instead make the conscious choice to honor the time allotted for and dedicated to the improvement of your health and fitness.
Tweak your daily routine: When it comes to improving your fitness, in addition to your structured workout sessions it’s important to also seek out ways in which to add more movement to the things you already do every day. For example, at the office try standing up and pacing while you’re on a long phone call, and get in the habit of walking over to a coworker’s desk to talk to them instead of sending an email. At home, make multiple trips into the house when bringing in groceries, and substitute light-intensity household activities, like washing dishes and folding laundry, in place of extended periods of sedentary time.
Get social: Social support is an important predictor of physical activity behavior, and most people find that they are more likely to adhere to a workout routine when there is some sense of accountability. Working out with a partner or as part of a group is a great way to recommit to your fitness while having fun in the process. Try signing up for a six-week boot camp program or set a specific day/time each week to meet a friend for a run or hike. In addition, instead of the usual lunch date or happy hour outings with friends, coworkers or loved ones, schedule active hang outs where you can catch up and share laughs while enjoying a leisurely walk or bike ride, or while partaking in a fun seasonal activity like ice skating or cross country skiing.
Jessica Matthews, MS is assistant professor of health and exercise science at Miramar College in San Diego, Calif. and senior advisor for health and fitness education for the American Council on Exercise (ACE). A certified health coach, personal trainer, group fitness instructor and yoga teacher, Jessica is committed to inspiring people to live happier, healthier, fitter lives. www.fitexpertjess.com; @fitexpertjess