It’s cliche, isn’t it? It’s January, so out come the shorts and running shoes, and we’re off to the gym to begin our New Year’s resolution to “lose weight” and “get in shape.” The only problem is, by February, most of us will no longer be going to the gym, and the running shoes will once more become sad and lonely in the closet.
I have to admit, I’ve often been one of the statistics. I begin the year gung-ho with my new gym membership and start out getting there often. I feel good about what I’m doing, and I start to build up some strength and endurance. Then the excuses start. I’m too tired, I have to take care of this, that and the other thing, I’ll do it tomorrow. Then I’ll start to feel guilty, but I still don’t go. Finally, even though I’m still paying for the gym (because in theory I’m always planning to go), I don’t even care anymore that I don’t go regularly.
Hopefully, you’re more consistent than I am. However, in case my story sounds familiar, I can tell you how I figured out what has not worked well for me, and more importantly, what does work for me.
First of all, as a physical therapist, I know that it is good for us to work out 30- 60 minutes 5-6 days per week. Therefore, that becomes my goal every year. Unfortunately, that’s not very realistic with my schedule at this time. It isn’t long before I’m burned out and my exercise aspirations have fizzled.
What works better for me is to try to work out 2-3 times per week, and try to get at least 30 minutes. I finally had to figure out that even if the ideal was more, doing this schedule was more realistic for me, and therefore more likely to be done. Being consistent is much more important that meeting an ideal.
Another problem that I’ve had is with the gym membership. I find that I am not motivated to continually make it to the gym. What I do like is getting out and doing things. Instead of signing up for the gym this year, I signed up for a snowshoeing class. Going to the gym is work for me. Getting outside is something that I do for fun and exercise is the added benefit.
The other thing that I keep reminding myself is that I don’t need to do everything all at once. If I don’t have time to do 30 minutes of exercise, several bouts of 10 minutes at a time will still help me get into better shape.
The MOST important thing that I use to keep myself active is to try to figure out what I can do each day. I used to get so overwhelmed thinking about how I should be working out for at least 40 minutes or that I should get to the gym 5 days a week. When I couldn’t, I would get discouraged and stop trying. Now, when I focus on what I can do each day, it’s a lot easier to get something done instead of nothing.
What works for you could easily be different. The real question to ask yourself is why you are having difficulty. Then see what you can do to remove that problem. The most important thing is to just keep trying!
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