Keeping Your Exercise Goals Moving
April 02, 2018
By Leah Wagner, Wellness Director at Westminster Village
As we move into spring, you may notice the number of gym participants decreasing and your motivation to keep your fitness New Year’s resolution is low. More than three-quarters of people stick with their exercise program within the first week of the New Year, but then more than half quit by the time Easter comes around. Keep in mind that some goals are harder to reach than others, but you can stay on track by focusing on what is to come, keeping a strong support system, giving yourself positive feedback, and setting SMART goals along the way. This will help keep your motivation high and the prize within reach.
Occasionally, life can just get in the way. Whether it's a busy family life, time management, stress, an illness, or something else, you can lose sight of your goals. Sometimes even getting up out of your chair can seem like the hardest thing to do when you’re out of shape. Even if you want to get in shape, your poor fitness can affect whether you believe you can achieve your fitness goals. This does not mean that you cannot get in shape. Keep your eye on the prize! The “prize” could be anything. It could be losing weight, decreasing joint pain, improving your balance, or even just feeling better.
If you are struggling with developing a physically fit lifestyle, you are not alone. There are a million others just like us. We all know we should exercise, but we stumble and fall or have trouble getting started. This is normal and you should not be hard on yourself because of it. Always remember that doing something is better than doing nothing at all. Do what you are able to do and slowly develop your plans as you get started. Whatever you do, make it fun! The best type of exercise is one you will enjoy. Don't worry about what everyone else is doing; pick an exercise that works best for you and meets your fitness goals. Choose from activities such as walking, group exercise classes, or personal training.
Whether you still need to plan your exercise goals or make new ones, you can do so by following the SMART
— Your goal should be clear and easy to understand. For example, “I will lower my cholesterol.”
— How will you track your progress and how will you know when you have reached your goal? Making your goal measurable means adding a number. “I will reduce my LDL cholesterol by 20 points within the next year.”
— Goals should be realistic. A goal to lose 20 pounds in four weeks is both unrealistic and unhealthy.
— Set goals that are important to where you are in your life right now. Don’t set a goal just because your friends or family have set that goal. Your goals are your motivators to continue exercising, so make sure they are important to you.
— Make sure each goal has a specific time frame. “I will lose 5 pounds in 3 months.”
Keep a strong support system to keep you motivated as you work toward your health and fitness goals. Communicate with your friends or loved ones about your health and fitness goals and ask for help. Ask them to encourage you and hold you accountable to help you stay on track. Also, connect with others who are focused on improving their health. Find or form a support group that includes an exercise specialist to help you reach your goals.
For more information on recommendations for exercise, please visit the American College of Sports Medicine at www.acsm.org.
Westminster Village is a continuing care retirement community, located at 2025 East Lincoln Street in Bloomington. Celebrating life, their mission is to provide excellence in senior living through a continuum of care and services. For more information, contact them at 309-663-6474 or visit www.westminstervillageinc.com.
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