New year, new you, new routine – right? We all have the best intentions when the new year begins. Here’s how to make them last.
Many of us will join gyms and fitness facilities with our goals for the year ahead firmly in mind. By the end of 30 days, almost half of us will be back to square one, defeated, discouraged and no closer to a healthier life. Fitness is just like any addiction. It all starts with a small dose. Often people make the mistake of leaping into exercise when baby steps are what’s needed.
Here are some tips for ensuring your new routine is a keeper…
- Start slow
Don’t push your body too soon. If you’re new to fitness, leave classes when things are feeling tough. Frequency is more important than intensity so take it slow and try to form some habits that will stick.
- Mix it up
Include a mix of strength, cardio and flexibility training. Try lots of different workouts to find out what you enjoy the most, and keep your schedule varied.
- Bring a friend
Working out with a friend keeps you accountable, and it’s fun. You’re less likely to bail on a gym session if you’re meeting your mate. Research shows that the key to sticking with fitness is all about starting slowly and doing it with friends.
Changes can take weeks to show. Celebrate the small wins – it may be that you’ve shed a pound or that you’ve gained a pound of muscle, or you may have achieved your weekly goal of doing three 30-minute workout sessions. Whatever the goal, it’s important to celebrate your successes.
- Keep it real
You’re not going to be able to run a marathon after your first month of running. A new routine will require consistent effort and specific action steps that need to be taken on a daily basis. So if you’re new to fitness, maybe aim for two to three 30-minute workouts in the first week. Start to make gradual weekly increases – extend the length of your workouts and increase the number of times you’re working out.
This piece originally appeared on lesmills.com.