Laurie is a running coach and the founder of House of Running in Amsterdam -- an organization offeri...
Get fit in 2013: 6 tips for success07 February 2013, by Laurie Villarreal
This is a perfect time for new beginnings and a fresh start. As with each new year, many people have resolved to get fit, lose weight, and improve their overall health. For some, this isn’t the first time. For many, it is an ongoing challenge.
You may have made some health-related resolutions yourself and perhaps your enthusiasm or efforts have already begun to lose steam. If this is the case, let February be the month to get back on track. This can be your year to finally get fit.
Do things a bit differently, stay motivated, and set yourself up for success. Here are a few tips to get you off to a great start and keep you on path:
› Do something you enjoy
Choose an activity that you like or that sounds appealing to you. Stop thinking of exercise as work and find something that makes you feel good.
Try a few different activities to find something that suits you. If Salsa is not as much fun as you thought, try running or yoga. Take a class to learn the basics and to make it easier and more enjoyable. Make it social by joining a group or by participating with friends. You’re much more likely to stick with it if it’s fun.
› Set realistic goals
People often lose their motivation when they take on too much too soon. In addition, this can also lead to injury or fatigue. Give yourself adequate time to incorporate healthier habits into your lifestyle. Choose a goal that is reasonable and then give yourself time to work up to it.
For example, your goal could be to workout three days a week for 45 minutes. Start with one day a week for 20 to 30 minutes and work your way up to 45 minutes by adding 5 or 10 minutes each week. After a few months, add a second and then third day.
If you’ve previously attempted a workout program that was unsuccessful, think about what went well and what didn’t. Learn from this experience to improve your chances of success.
› Focus on one thing at a time
In addition to exercise, adequate sleep and nutrition are also important factors in getting fit. Focusing on one at a time can keep you from getting demotivated. Changing your diet and starting a new fitness regime at the same time can be too much.
Photo by Flickr user adifansnet
If you first focus on improving your fitness, you will likely begin to sleep better and pay more attention to what you eat without any effort. Once you’ve established a consistent fitness routine, focus on making small healthful changes to your diet.
› Find support
Gather some support to help keep you on path. Recruit a friend, join a group, hire a coach, or ask your family to regularly cheer you on. Commit to your new routine and let others know about it. Establishing accountability will increase your chances of success.
› Stay positive when setbacks arise
Once you’ve made a reasonable plan and gathered support, remember, incorporating a new fitness regime into your lifestyle takes time.
If you get off track, that’s okay. Forgive yourself and quickly get back on. If you encounter a setback, stay positive. Don’t let it be your downfall. Think about what went wrong and how you can do things differently next time to keep on path.
› Reward yourself for your accomplishments
If you started out running 15 minutes once a week and now you’re consistently running 25, bravo! That’s improvement. That may not be your end goal, but that’s progress that merits a reward. Acknowledge your progress along the way and it will help keep you motivated.
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