Tips for Long Term Exercise Success

latina sports woman running up outdoor stairway in berlin

 

Everyone knows they should exercise to be healthy, and many people start exercising with good intentions.  However, it’s easy to slip up and miss a day, and then never pick it back up again.  The following tips should help you establish a routine, and hopefully give you more long-term success with your exercising.

  • Evaluate yourself honestly, and write it all down. Make a list of the healthy habits you have, and then a list of the things you can improve on.  Seeing it all written down side by side can help you be more honest with yourself.  Figure out how to work on the areas that need improving.
  • Set realistic long-term and short-term goals. Set a long-term goal for yourself that is realistic for you to achieve; otherwise you’re setting yourself up for failure and disappointment down the road.  Then figure out what steps you need to take to achieve that goal, and turn those steps into your short-term goals.
  • Wear clothes you’re comfortable in, and that let you move the way you need to. They shouldn’t be so loose that they’ll get caught in equipment, but they shouldn’t be so restrictive that you can’t breathe or move properly.  Make sure your shoes support you properly without causing pain.
  • Plan out your exercises beforehand, that way you don’t waste time deliberating. Also, make sure to exercise 2 hours after a large meal, or 1 hour prior.
  • Make exercising a priority. Make yourself a set exercise schedule if you can, and stick with it.  Once it’s a habit, it will be easy to continue, but even missing one day can mess up your routine, and you’ll be more likely to miss more days.
  • Find a workout buddy if you need help motivating yourself. Having someone to help keep you accountable can help you stick with your routine.  You can even have friendly competitions with each other to motivate each other.
  • Find a workout you enjoy. If you don’t have a little bit of fun exercising, then you’ll be more likely to want to skip it.  If you find yourself getting bored with your routine, try something new to keep yourself interested.
  • You don’t have to cut out all the food you love, but probably shouldn’t have. It’s all about moderation, and making sure the exercise you do accounts for any slipups you have.  Eating healthy doesn’t have to make you miserable, just make sure to have a balanced diet for the amount of exercise you’re getting.
  • Make sure you listen to your body and not push yourself too far too fast. You can injure yourself if you start at a pace your body isn’t ready for; starting slowly and consistently working your way up is better for your body.
  • Don’t overexert yourself trying to keep up with others; go at a pace that is sustainable. Dizziness, tightness or pain in your chest, loss of muscle control, and nausea are all signs of overexertion.  If you have any of these symptoms, see your doctor to make sure there isn’t an underlying cause, and scale back your next workout.
  • Don’t compare yourself to others! You’re going to feel awkward starting a new exercise for the first time, you’ll get used to the new routine soon, and you won’t feel as awkward.  No one starting out a new exercise looks like people who’ve been exercising for years.

Overall, be patient with yourself.  You’re not going to see results overnight, even though your body will feel the strain of a new routine.  Keep in mind that quick, drastic changes aren’t healthy for your body, and generally aren’t sustainable.  Don’t get frustrated with yourself if you slip up and miss a day.  Just figure out what stopped you, and try to overcome it.  Figure out how to motivate yourself to make sure you don’t skip too many days, and remember, a little goes a long way!  Even 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day can have a positive impact on your health.  Keep your eye on your long-term goal, and happy exercising!