26 Jul 10 tips to get your exercise routine back on track… for good!
It happens. You were working out regularly… exercise almost as much a part of your daily routine as brushing your teeth, and then just like that, something derailed you. Perhaps it was a new job, a new baby, a relaxing vacation… or perhaps you just tired of the same old, same old. I’ve been there!
Taking a short break from exercise can be a good thing – but when a few days of rest and recovery turns into weeks or months, it’s time to take stock and take action.
Worrying about what could have been or should have been won’t do you nearly as much good as looking ahead to what will be. To get your fitness routine back on track, consider these tips:
- Identify why you stopped. Try to understand why things didn’t work out as you had planned. If you can identify what derailed your good intentions, you’ll be better able to anticipate and navigate other roadblocks.
- Set a goal. Actually I want you to set three. A short term goal (i.e. something you will do today or this week); a medium-term goal (something you will work towards and achieve over the next few weeks or three months); and a long-term goal (something you work towards achieving in three to six months or longer). Choose goals that are realistic and motivating. Today’s goal might be running around the block; next month you might have a goal of running 5 KM at a slow but steady pace; and in six months, you may have a goal of running your first 10 km race.
- Put exercise on your calendar. Schedule time for exercise as you would any important meeting or appointment. I do this myself!
- Identify what you enjoy most about exercise. Some people love exercising outdoors for the connection with nature. Others enjoy the socialization. Still others don’t like any aspect of exercise, but appreciate the sense of wellness it bestows following. Determine what you enjoy most about exercise and factor it into your plan. I love helping others and meeting new people — two reasons I’ve taught fitness classes for over 25 years.
- Track your activity. Keep track of your exercise. Canadian adults need at least 150 minutes of heart-pumping activity every week and yet only a small fraction actually achieve this minimum. Most people think they’re more active than they really are. Want to know for sure? Track it.
- Enlist the right friend. Many people find exercising with a friend keeps them accountable and motivated.
- Reward yourself. When you work hard and achieve your goals, reward yourself with a small treat.
- Hire a trainer. If you need help finding an activity or think your technique needs refining, hire a trainer for a session or two. For runners, this can result in improved breathing techniques, better foot planting, reduced shoulder tension, improved blood flow to the upper body, a stronger mental resolve, and more.
- Stay focused. When I find my motivation sliding, I remind myself that exercise is a privilege and not a punishment. Don’t strive for a perfect body, strive for a perfectly healthy one!
- It won’t all go as planned. Life throws us curve balls, and not all of your workouts will meet your expectations. Instead of focusing on failure, praise your participation and look ahead to your next exercise session.