At the start of every year thousands of Americans vow to get in better shape…
But after a only a few weeks, or maybe even months at the gym, many fall off the exercise bandwagon and go back to living a sedentary lifestyle.
This pattern repeats year after year, and according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention more than a third (35.7%) of U.S adults are obese.
Obesity is defined as having a body mass index greater than 30. At this point, you have an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, stroke, cardiovascular disease, and certain types of cancers. Here’s how to measure your BMI.
It’s no secret that exercise is one of the best ways to combat obesity and lower disease risk, but the overwhelming amount of information available for the best type of exercise can be difficult to navigate.
So, here are five helpful tips to get you started with a successful exercise program you’ll actually stick to.
5 Tips to Help You Stick To Your Exercise Plan
- Don’t believe everything you read. New fitness fads and myths come out daily. Remember, the best exercise program available is one that you will stick with. Make sure you are incorporating strength training, cardiovascular exercise, and flexibility training into your exercise program.
- Set SMART goals. SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. Instead of “I want to workout” tell yourself “I want to workout 30 minutes a day for 6 weeks and by 12 weeks be able to workout 40 minutes straight.” Have a specific goal that you can measure–something realistic and attainable with a defined time frame. When you set SMART goals you are more likely to reach your desired outcome.
- Start small. Going from no exercise to 3 hours a day, 7 days a week at the gym is bound to leave you burned out. If you can’t exercise for 20 or 30 minutes at a time try breaking up your workout into 2 or 3 ten minute sessions. Multiple short bouts of exercise can have the same health benefits as one long session. Remember, any activity is better than none!
- Find a buddy. Workout buddies are a great way to keep you motivated and to help hold you accountable. Find a friend with similar exercise goals and workout together.
- Workout with a trainer. A personal trainer is a great resource to keep you motivated and educate you on the right workout style for your body. Make sure to look for a trainer who holds at least a bachelor’s degree in an exercise science related field. Also be aware of what certifications the trainer holds. Organizations like the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) are two of the best certification organizations available. Here are some of ACSM’s physical activity recommendations:
- Cardiovascular exercise: 30-60 minutes of moderate intensity exercise 5 days a week or 20-60 minutes of vigorous intensity exercise 3 days a week. Moderate intensity can include walking or swimming. Vigorous intensity can include running, jogging, or high intensity aerobics.
- Strength exercise: Train each major muscle group 2-3 days a week. Start with 2-4 sets of 8-12 repetitions of each exercise. Be sure to wait at least 48 hours between resistance training sessions.
*The American Council on Exercise (ACE) has a great free online exercise library.
- Flexibility exercise: Complete flexibility exercises 2-3 days a week. Hold each stretch for 10-30 seconds and repeat each stretch 2-4 times.
It’s smart to consult with your health care provider before beginning an exercise program especially if you have a medical condition. Guidelines may be slightly different for individuals with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, etc.
Stick with it! You’re worth it. Find a support system to help you stay motivated.
If you need some extra motivation… Read our post on Simple Exercising Tips to Help You Lose Weight – You’ll find some fun inspirational tips at the end of the article that will help keep you on track!
If you’re really motivated and want to learn more about weight loss benefits of detoxification, read this article on How Detox Helps You Lose Weight. Also, there are plenty of weight loss supplements that may be right for you.
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Leave us a comment below! Tell us and other readers what has worked well for you. We love to know your success tips or stories.