How To Restart and Continue Your Exercise Routine:
Starting (or even re-starting) any kind of program or practice can be challenging, especially a physical workout or exercise regime. Whether you’re a seasoned gym veteran who has been out of practice, those who want to get back into shape, men and women, young and old alike, kick starting a former health regime can be a daunting task.
Even though spring is in the air, many of us may have made a New Year’s resolution to make a healthy comeback when it comes to getting more exercise. But according to the US News Health section, it’s estimated that 80% of these types of resolutions have been kicked to the curb by the middle of February. So why do so many of these good intentions go down the drain?
Blame It On The Brain
After yoga class participation, Pilates courses and spin classes swell at the beginning of the year, they dwindle soon afterwards. But it’s not the gym’s fault or any of these other locations that are to blame, it’s more likely what’s going on (or not going on) in our brains. Think of it this way, sometime in late December, you may have had a fleeting thought that you resolved to get healthier in the New Year, but it was nothing more than that, a passing notion.
There was likely no real analysis of what it would actually take to accomplish this goal, let alone the proper amount of self-discipline necessary to see it through. You’ve got to do more than simply think about the possibility of doing something about your health, eating right and getting more exercise and actually commit to a program or plan.
The Meaning Of Fear
Members of some anonymous self-help groups may be familiar with an acronym for “fear” whose verbiage defines it as “False Expectations Appearing Real.” What they’re basically saying is, if you think you’re going to fail, you probably will, only imaging negative possibilities instead of focusing on positive results. When it comes to exercising and working out, many people self-sabotage themselves into thinking they inflict pain on themselves, become sore or suffer an injury.
“No Pain, No Gain”
One of the biggest myths associated with exercise and working out is the outdated claim, “no pain, no gain,” principle and this is simply not true. According to Alice Burron, female bodybuilder and personal trainer, the truth is completely different when it comes to this once popular fitness fable.
“The ongoing perception is that people need to feel pain through the entirety of their workout or they’re not getting the benefit – that one’s very frustrating to me,” assures Burron, “You shouldn’t be exercising at a level of pain ever.”
Smarter, Not Harder
When it comes to exercise related injuries, stamina and stress, if your workout is, “So intense you’re thinking of passing out, you can’t continue this session for longer, then it’s too difficult and you’re at increased risk for injuries or burnout.” Instead Burron says, “You want to exercise smarter, not harder,” she adds. “That’s the premise. You don’t have to kill yourself. You just have to be smart about it.”
Instead of fooling yourself into thinking you’ll be in pain, sore after working out or become injured, prepare yourself physically and mentally by:
- Stretching out before your routine
- Get your mind pumped up for more adrenaline
- Do mini-workouts and exercises throughout the day
As always, check with your physician to discuss possible programs that are appropriate for your age, weight class, muscle mass, bone density and other important considerations.
Getting Started & Sticking With It
Getting the ole gym ball rolling, pardon the pun, is one of the most challenging parts of this process, but it doesn’t have to be all that difficult or overwhelming. One of the most important things to do is set some obtainable goals and have realistic expectations. Are you trying to lose weight? If so, how many pounds and over what reasonable amount of time?
Once you do have your program in motion, here are some tips to keep it moving along:
- Buddy System: One of the most effective ways to stay on track is enlisting a friend, family member or even a casual acquaintance to join you in jogging, going to the gym or any other activity you can do together. Although you may talk yourself out of your evening stroll, you don’t want to disappoint your walking partner.
- Gadgets: Invest in some of today’s newer technology geared towards fitness and a healthier lifestyle. Not only will it help monitor your activity and progress, remembering the amount of money you spent may have you looking at your health more as an investment rather than a hassle.
- Be The Hare: As in life, fitness and health are both a journey and not a race. Slow and steady is the pace and you don’t have to run a marathon unless that’s your ultimate long-term goal. Even if it is your plan, you have to crawl before you can run so you’ll need to start out slowly and work your way up to that status.
- Break It Down: Similar to a goal of running in a marathon, a mission like performing 10,000 sit-ups in a year can seem pretty intimidating, right? But if you divide it up over the course of time, the math comes down to a mere 192 a week and only 28 per day. At that rate, you could probably pump out 20,000 or more of these abdominal crunches over the course of a calendar year.
Stay positive, keep on track, make some manageable goals and keep them. Our good health is something that can’t be bought or sold, but we can invest some time and energy into this important, literally life-saving part, of our everyday existence.