Knowing you should exercise is a no-brainer; knowing how to make exercise part of your life is more challenging. “If the whole exercise thing is new for you, then you can easily become your own worst enemy,” says Fred Devito, vice president of movement classes and training at Exhale Enterprises, Inc. To stay focused, make a plan, like one of these 10 ways to create a personal fitness plan. Just remember, Devito says: “Sometimes it’s two steps forward one step back. Stay the course, keep it light. Exercise is only movement; if it’s not making you feel good, change the movements!”
Think about what motivates you and set goals accordingly, Devito suggests. It could be something like lose 5 pounds or bike 50 miles.
Choose Activities You Enjoy
“Remember that exercise should be a transformational experience, rewarding and fun,” Devito says. For instance, don’t plan to run if you hate running, because chances are you’ll quit sooner than later.
Go it Alone
If you avoid health clubs because you fear you won’t measure up to other people there, you’re not alone. But it isn’t an excuse to take a pass at exercise all together. “If you’re shy or embarrassed about your body, use DVDs or take long solo power walks,” Devito suggests.
Find a Partner
Recruit a friend or spouse to be your workout buddy. Having someone who’s counting on you to be there motivates you to meet your workout goals–and vice versa. You can count on your partner to help you through tough days or days you don’t want to move at all.
“Read every fitness magazine that you can get your hands on,” Devito says. Not only will the articles inspire you, but they’ll provide ideas for new exercises, ways to make your workout more effective and even the best workout gear for your needs.
Take a Television Class
Find a fitness television program you like–they’re often on local cable or satellite stations–and make that your time to exercise. It’s like having a personal instructor right in your house–and for free.
Make Little Changes
“Wake up every morning thinking of ways that you can incorporate movement into your day,” Devito says. Maybe you can walk or bike to work instead of driving or taking the train. Skip the elevator and take the stairs. Run around the neighborhood track with your kids. Little things add up.
Find the Reason
It’s hard to squeeze exercise into your already busy day, but, says Devito, “If you can’t find the time then find the reason.” Is it to be able to keep up with your kids? Or look good for your high school reunion? “Put a note on your refrigerator reminding yourself,” Devito suggests.
Make Movement a Way of Life
Consider exercise when you plan vacations. For example, take walking tours or ski trips, or go on a yoga retreat. Or even if you’re planning a beach stay, take surfing lessons or find out where the hotel fitness facility is and have a wake-up call set to get you there every morning.
Use the Internet
There’s a world of support out there. “Join online fitness-related blogs and share your joys and frustrations with others who are trying to reach the same goals as yourself,” Devito says.