20 Equal Exercise Success
by our Health Coach

Most people know they should exercise regularly, however the trouble is often lack of discipline, organization and motivation. Successful and rewarding exercise programs can be different in design, but they all have similar traits. Listed below are some tips for developing and maintaining a successful exercise routine:

    Getting Started

    • In order to stay motivated and establish a routine, it helps to choose something that you like. If you look forward to your daily workout, you're more likely not to skip it.
    • Gradually build the amount of time that you exercise. Start with 20-30 minutes a day to improve your health. Then add 10 minutes a week, until you are at your goal time (60 minutes a day to lose weight, or 60- 90 minutes a day to manage your weight).
    • Exercise should be part of your routine. As important as eating, sleeping and showering.
    • If at all possible, exercise at the same time every day. Establishing a routine means that you've set aside a specific time in your day for exercise and you're more likely to stick with it.

    Set Goals

    • Short and long term goals help motivate you. If you don't know where you're going you'll never get there. Write down your goals and make sure they are challenging and realistic.
    • Monitor progress and adjust your goals as needed.

    Track Progress

    • Keep a log to track your progress. Note the date, time, activity and how long you did it, as well as the days that you didn't work out and why.

    Reward Yourself

    • Establish a reward system for when you've reached goal. You could reward yourself with a weekend off, or a new outfit.
    • Celebrate every success -- you'll have earned it!

    Make It a Priority

    • Budget exercise as you do time or money. Establish a target for the amount of exercise you choose to accomplish and budget time to accomplish it within a period of one week.
    • Once your target number of exercise hours are scheduled for the week, if you must cancel a period, reschedule as you would other appointments.
    • Make the time and place you accomplish your exercise convenient. Set realistic times to accomplish exercises and perform exercise at convenient locations.
    • Plan for alternate exercise activities. If your exercise is done outside, have an alternate exercise planned for rainy days. If you travel, have an alternate such as push-ups, sit-ups or using the hotel fitness room.

    Make it Safe

    • Stop exercising if you experience chest pain, dizziness, severe headache or other unusual symptoms. If the pain doesn't go away, get medical help immediately. If you're feeling tired or sick, take time to rest. Ease back into the program as you start feeling better.
    • Check with your Health Coach. If you have a chronic health problem, such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease or high blood pressure, ask your Health Coach what type of physical activity is okay for you.

    Get Support

    • Ask others to support you and join you in activities. Start a walking or cycling club or buy an extra piece of equipment so that a friend or spouse can join you. It may take someone else to motivate you or hold you accountable, so a friend can increase your chances for success.
    • Personal trainers can prescribe programs, monitor progress and provide support. They can judge your efforts and help motivate you to reach your goals.

    Eat Healthy

    • Choose a variety of nutritious foods every day. Remember that your health and weight depend on your eating habits as well as your physical activity. Healthy foods will give you with the energy you need to be active.
    • To keep your body functioning as it should, you need fluid. Don't compromise your exercise program by not drinking enough water. You need it to flush out your system and fire up your metabolism.

    Never Surrender

    • Don't give up! Forget setbacks, keep trying. Remember, fitness is continuous and accumulative. The benefits far outweigh the efforts.

Additionally, keep learning new things from new people. Many different exercise programs focus on different ideas and techniques. The best exercise regime may be a combination of two or three.

Remember to smile! Smiling will help you succeed mentally. Exercise can be tough, but when you take it with a lighter heart and mind, your success is inevitable.

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Use of this site constitutes acceptance of WellnessWatchersMD's terms of use and privacy policy. The information provided in this Web site is intended for your general knowledge only, and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. Please see your personal physician immediately if you have any concern about your health, and you should always consult your physician before starting a fitness regimen.