- Exercise & Fitness
How To Create a Consistent Exercise Routine
The Benefits of Exercise
For some people the thought of exercise may be quite daunting. If it is a new idea then it could be a test to your fitness and ability or simply feel like a chore.
But if you are toying with the challenge then there could be a reason behind it. It could be to change your lifestyle for health reasons, to become fit for an event, a new hobby or to tone up and lose weight.
Which ever reason it is there is no doubt that exercise has great benefits. It can help shed the pounds if your are overweight, improve muscle tone and strength, boost metabolism and reduce blood pressure. It is good for the heart, reducing health problems relating to it and exercising is a wonderful stress reliever.
Where to Begin?
If you have made the decision to take up some training it may be trial and error to start with. For something new which will need to fit into your life, it will need to be thought out and planned. Otherwise you run the risk of doing it once or twice then falling into your usual habits.
What Form of Exercise Will I Do?
Think about what appeals to you. Were you good at cross country running when you were at high school? Or are you a water baby and swimming is much more fun? Think through what will fit into your daily routine and that you will enjoy. The idea is to stick with this long term.
Think About These Points:
Cost - Do you want to commit to a gym membership or pay as you go with classes or use of sports equipment?
Consider sport and exercise you can do free of charge. If you want to invest in equipment for a new activity (for example, mountain biking or windsurfing) give it a try first before spending the cash.
Time - Will you be using your lunch hour, getting up earlier in the morning, or while your child is at creche? Think about a realistic time to do it at and stick to it. It may be an hour a day or three times a week, but make sure you put this time aside especially.
Your Ability - If you haven't been active for quite a long time, don't push it too hard right from the start. If it's a tough workout then it will just put you off from going back to it.
Take it easy to begin with to build up your fitness levels and get advice from your doctor if you have health issues.
Alone or with friends - Will you be motivated enough to do it by yourself, or would you prefer moral support? Consider your personality, shyness or taking up a team sport or evening class with friends.
If you are unsure of what you will enjoy doing the most then try a couple of different things. You may prefer a change rather than sticking to one form of exercise.
For example, you may want to go for a 20 minute jog at 6am on Mondays and Thursdays. Then go to a Zumba dance class with friends on a Tuesday evening. Then play tennis with your family on Saturdays. If you schedule in dates to arrange plans, you are more likely to stick with them.
Make a Diary
By writing down what you intend to do you are less likely to forget! Make a wall planner, filling in the activities you will do on the days allocated. Write down the time you will begin to keep it fresh in your mind.
For the first week, allow a short time per exercise. If it is skipping do this for 10 minutes each day. For the second week increase the time by 5 minutes and the third week by another 5 minutes. Do what you can to suit you. Remember, if you have an 'off' day, just go back to 10 minutes and don't feel guilty. Some exercise is better than no exercise.
Have an Achievable Goal
You may have a long term goal in which you are aiming for. It may be to drop two dress sizes or it may be to one day run the London Marathon. Thinking too far ahead will often make you feel deflated though when after three weeks you've only lost a pound.
But instead of putting the pressure on yourself, set yourself short term targets to aim for. This way you don't have to look too far ahead into the future which can be daunting, and you'll feel more chuffed with yourself when you keep hitting those smaller targets.
By being realistic and feeling as though you have achieved something, you are motivating yourself to keep your exercise routine consistent. If you put too much on yourself, you might just give it all up at the first hurdle.
Write Down Reasons to Exercise
Make a chart, use stickers and use stars. It doesn't matter as this is your reward! Keep the reasons to do this visible to you as a constant reminder. If you have to slim down for an occasion or holiday, make a count down of the weeks or days. You may then avoid putting it off until tomorrow.
Again, don't lay on the pressure. Having photo's of skinny models or muscular men will encourage you to compare yourself. The idea is to keep at the exercise, not become depressed.
If you get bored while you exercise alone, then listen to music. Keep it upbeat to get you moving to the rhythm!
Have an Exercise Buddy
Having a buddy to help you with your exercise program will be encouraging and helpful. Either find a partner to exercise with or swap notes with at the end of the week, or talk to someone for extra advice. A health professional, web forum or personal trainer will offer guidance and give inspiration to keep going.
Set an Alarm
Use the alarm on your phone to remind you to get up in the morning to exercise, or remind you to go to the gym in the afternoon. Don't become forgetful and slip into old habits.
Become Healthier All Round
Diet and exercise go hand in hand, and a good diet will make you feel positive about yourself. Be more conscious when food shopping and swap your regular food supply for healthier options.
Buy more salad and low fat meat for high protein, high nutritional lunches. Eat carbs to keep you going while you workout but stick to whole grains and brown varieties. Avoid refined carbohydrates such as white sugar, white potatoes, white bread and white pasta. Swap sweet treats like cakes and biscuits for dried fruit and low fat yogurt.
It is vital to fuel yourself when you doing sport or activity so eat regularly and sensibly. Keep your fluid intake up too. Carry bottles of water around with you and have herbal tea rather than your regular caffeine fix. You will look and feel so much better in the long run, so keep it up!
Exercise When You Are Not Exercising
Don't just limit yourself to your chosen activities. You can still get moving even when it's your day off! Instead of taking the car, why not walk? Or enjoy your Sunday afternoon going for a bike ride with the kids. Make it fun and see how fit everyone gets.
There are plenty of ideas to try at home and get the family involved. Play football in the garden or park, do a workout DVD or play a sporting game on your game console.
Do this alongside your routine and keep your exercise routine your personal priority. It can be so easy to slip out of so make this a long term plan. You will look and feel amazing!
Workout Ideas To Do At Home
- Trampolining on a trampette
- A step workout on your bottom stairs
- Skipping with a skipping rope
- Star Jumps
- Aerobic DVD
- Shooting basketball hoops
- Jogging or walking
- Weights (seek advice)
- Exercise bike
- Rowing machine
- Floor toning exercises
- Games with your children - badminton/soccer/catch/cricket
- How to Stay Motivated to Exercise
Finding the time and energy to exercise can make it hard to start. You need to find something to motivate you into a new routine. Here are some tips that may inspire you!