At least once a year, you probably vow to commit to an exercise program. If you’ve had some trouble with the follow-through, though, you’re certainly in good company. But there are so many reasons to make the commitment again and stick with it.
Everyone has a different reason for losing momentum. The bottom line is that if getting fit is important to you, it’s never too late to begin a fitness regimen. You can fit in a day’s workout in less time than it takes to scroll through your Facebook feed.
In fact, you can do it while you watch TV. If you follow the recommendations of organizations such as the American Council on Exercise (ACE) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), all you need to improve your heart health and reduce your risk of all kinds of other diseases is a total of 150 minutes of exercise per week. When and how you fit these minutes into your regular routine is entirely up to you.
So start today, and use these tips to help you make exercise part of your routine.
Set a SMART goal
According to ACE, a SMART goal is one that is:
- time (met by a deadline and done in a certain amount of time)
Setting goals helps give focus and structure to what you want to accomplish. Meeting goals is satisfying, and fitness experts say it helps build momentum. Just pay close attention to the “attainable” part of this equation.
An unrealistic goal only sets you up to fail. Instead of challenging yourself to exercise daily for 30 minutes every day of the week when on some days you can’t even get in 15, look at your schedule and find two days where you can realistically boost your workout time to 30 minutes. It all adds up to get you toward your goal of 150 minutes for the week.
Vow to take more steps every day
For nearly a decade, public health experts at the CDC have urged Americans to take 10,000 steps every day. The 10,000 mark comes out to about 5 miles a day, and people who walk that much are considered “active.” Those who get in 12,500 steps a day are “highly active.”
Even if weight loss isn’t your goal, you should aim to increase your daily mileage to achieve or maintain overall good health.
Make fitness a lifestyle, not a fad
Many people make the mistake of going hard toward fitness goals, but slacking off once they’ve been achieved. They see fitness as a means to an end, not a way to live their life. This can lead to health problems and weight gain. Failing to see fitness as a lifestyle choice means you won’t reap the long-term benefits of regular exercise.
Sure, exercise can help you lose or maintain weight in the short term. But an active lifestyle provides lasting benefits. It can reduce your risk for potential health complications, including:
- high blood pressure
- heart disease
Exercise contributes to improved health and well-being, so make it a priority — it’s never too late.