Staying fit is a super power, wellness-wise. Exercise can improve your energy levels, sleep quality, body composition, and overall health. While these perks are great, hectic lives can make sticking with an exercise program tricky. Simple shifts in your behaviors can help minimize these barriers, making reaching and maintaining your fitness goals almost as easy as pushing play.
Set reasonable goals. Start with activities that seem attainable and reasonably challenging, then set a goal to engage in that activity at least a few times per week. Most wellness perks, according to the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, kick in if you do a minimum of 150 minutes of moderately-intense exercise per week. That’s just over 21 minutes a day.
Schedule it. Prioritize workouts in your calendar like anything else. Schedule routine sessions at times that make the most sense within your lifestyle. Many people find it’s easier to stick to an exercise routine in the morning while others find they have more energy in the afternoons. But neither is ideal if the time isn’t convenient for you. Experiment with various options until you find one that works.
Get the gear. Ideally, your workouts won’t require a lot of equipment. Regardless, stock up on whatever you need to get started and choose quality gear, especially when it comes to particularly important items, such as athletic shoes. Wearing colors and textures you enjoy may also help keep you motivated to suit up and head out.
Plan ahead. Prepare your gear ahead of time to prevent skipping workouts. If you schedule your workouts for the morning, set your fitness attire out the night before. If you plan to exercise on your way home from work, pack a workout bag in advance and bring it with you.
Buddy up. Most everything is more fun with friends. Use the buddy system for increased workout accountability and enjoyment. If showing up or making time to exercise is your biggest challenge, having someone to be accountable to could be all you need.
Sleep and rest well. Quality sleep makes for effective exercise, and helps ensure that you have the mental gusto to show up. Cultivate a healthy sleep schedule, and stick to routine sleep and waking times as often as you can.
Cut yourself some slack. Aiming for perfection can work against you. If you miss a workout, don’t beat yourself up. Instead, consider it a rest day and get back on it the next day. If you find yourself unable to stick to your goals, reassess. It’s better to work out at a lower intensity or for less time for a while than not at all.