Finger on the Pulse: How to start a new exercise routine, and stick to it
If your New Year’s resolution is to get fit, which it is most likely is, then here are some strategies you should stick by and make it a way of life.
We’ve all been there—we set our New Year’s resolutions to be healthier and fitter; and six weeks later we find ourselves demotivated, with gym shoes tucked away at the back of our closets while we laze away in front of the television instead of working out.
We all know too well the benefits of exercise – it lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, gives you stronger bones and heart, helps improve concentration and focus; and the list goes on.
Aristotle famously said: “We are what we repeatedly do; excellence therefore, is not an act, but a habit.” So here are some strategies to stick to that exercise programme, and making it a way of life.
1. Get a workout buddy
Find a friend to train with. Working out with someone holds you accountable and you’ll be less likely to bail on a training session especially when it’s 6 in the morning. You’ll also benefit from social interaction and possibly better results from having somebody encourage and push you to work harder.
2. Do something you look forward to
Try different exercises and programmes to find something that you enjoy doing. It might be yoga for some people and crossfit for others. Whatever it may be, working out should be enjoyable and it should excite you enough to keep you self-motivated.
3. Eat right
What you feed your body with has a large impact on how you feel about exercising. If you’ve had a heavy meal of nasi lemak or hokkien mee a few hours before your training session, you are going to be feeling sluggish and tired while your body digests all that food. Making sure that you eat a balanced meal of protein, healthy fats and slow-digesting carbs -- on the other hand -- will give you the energy and focus you need to bring to your workout.
4. Be prepared
Pack your gym bag the night before so that you don’t have to rush in the morning. When the day starts and you need to focus on making decisions at work, the last thing you will want to do is think about having everything ready for your training session later in the day.
5. Measure your progress
Keep a log of how you’re improving either on a fitness tracker or on a physical diary. Whether it’s how fast you’re running or how much your blood pressure has come down, it’s a good way of charting your progress and keep you on track with your programme.
6. Forget perfection
If you have a day where you missed a workout or eaten that slice of cake that you shouldn’t have, give yourself a break and move on. Don’t beat yourself up about it and never give up on your programme. Remember that it’s a marathon, not a sprint; and it’s consistency over a long period of time that will give you results.
7. Healthy rewards
You are looking to make exercise a lifestyle, and in that process of reinforcing the habit, reward yourself for a job well done with treats that will encourage your exercise routine. Treat yourself to that new pair of exercise shoes or those new wireless headphones that will take your workouts to a new level.
With a perfect combination of charismatic beauty, grace and intelligence, Dr Andrea Lim is a firm believer in the values of hard work and dedication. Besides working in her family business, KL Sogo, the medical degree holder is also a partner in her husband’s health and fitness venture, Peak Fitness.
To get in touch with her, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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