Exercising regularly sounds simple — in theory, but it’s a good habit that can be difficult to maintain. Every New Year, you might get that adrenaline rush as you resolve to join a gym, try that workout you found in a magazine, or purchase the latest Bowflex.
But then a few weeks — or months — pass without more than a few days of consistent exercise. Maybe an obstacle got in the way, or you just lost steam.
We’ve all been there at some point or another.
But why does this happen?
Perhaps you identify with at least one of the most common reasons people give up on exercising:
- Short on time and money
- Stuck inside due to inclement weather
- Feeling self-conscious and intimidated
- Getting bored with the same workout activities
- Low energy/too tired
- Information overload
Although you may call it quits, it’s never too late to crush your exercise goals! Below are some effective tips to not only help you get back on the horse (literally, if horseback riding’s your thing) but also to keep you motivated.
11 Tips to Start Exercising
#1 – Establish Your Goals
Why do you want to exercise? Understanding your personal “why” will keep you grounded and help you develop goals and find a plan that’s right for you on Exercise.com. When you have something to fight for, you’ll know how to fight for it.
Now set both start and end dates.
If you don’t set a start date, it’ll be too easy to say, “Well, there’s always tomorrow” every day.
An end date can make your goals feel less daunting. You won’t feel stuck (or bored) in an endless exercise loop. When you reach your end date, you can reevaluate and decide whether you want to continue the same routine or find a trainer to take you to the next level.
Write out your goals. Make them specific and realistic. Remember SMART goals? Think SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely) so that you don’t set yourself up for failure.
It’s more attainable to set mini-goals that lead up to one big, overarching one. It’s that whole “one bite at a time” mentality. For example: If your main goal is to lose 50 pounds in five months, what are the baby steps you’ll take to get there? Write those out.
#2 – Consult Your Doctor
With physical activity, we all have unique circumstances and limitations. If you have any health issues or are over the age of 35, it’s important to speak with your doctor before beginning a new exercise program, as there are no one-size-fits-all programs.
But don’t let the thought of having to schedule a doctor’s appointment get you down. No, it’s not another obstacle to keep you from exercising. Push that self-sabotaging voice away.
Remember those goals you wrote down? Remember why you want this? Tell your doctor what you have in mind (you could even bring your written plan with you), and they can help you decide which route is best. It just might take a little reworking.
#3 – Nutrition is Just as Important
It’s important to eat well, not just exercise. Since all systems in our bodies interconnect, holistic health is vital. Choosing to exercise regularly without a healthy diet won’t give your body all the fuel it needs. And it could exacerbate health issues.
Each food group serves a purpose:
- Carbs are fuel for muscles and keep blood sugar stable.
- Vitamins and minerals improve muscular and bone strength while fighting illnesses.
- Proteins help repair damaged muscles.
- Fats oil joints, improve brain power, and activate the amino acids in protein.
As you develop an exercise plan, establish nutritional goals, too. Like with exercise, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all diet. If you have any dietary restrictions, health problems, or questions about what your body will need based on the types of workouts you’ll do, consult a doctor, a nutritionist, or one of our trainers at Exercise.com/Pro.
#4 – Invest in the Right Attire
Get the right shoes and clothes for your fitness routine. You don’t want to wear anything that will be uncomfortable and inhibit you from getting the most out of your workouts.
Plus, wearing the right functional attire can make working out more enjoyable. When we wear stuff that doesn’t fit or feel right, that can feed self-consciousness — which you want to minimize.
You might be surprised by all the different kinds of athletic shoes and clothes out there. But don’t let this overwhelm you.
Do some research, ask friends for recommendations, or seek guidance at a shop that specializes in workout gear. And when you know what you’re looking for, make it fun by getting that tank top or those running shoes in a color you like.
After all, you’ll be the one exercising in what you purchase.
#5 – Gauge Your Fitness Level
- See how many sit-ups you can do.
- How far can you reach your toes/feet while seated on the floor?
- Check your pulse rate before and after running for 20 minutes.
- How long does it take you to run a half-mile?
Assessing these situations can help you identify the mini-goal you should aim for first. You might discover that you need to start smaller or can move further ahead than you had expected. It’s easier to start small, achieve your goal, and set the bar higher than to reach for unrealistic goals.
#6 – Monitor Your Progress
When you’re in a workout program, it helps to see the numbers along the way. Concrete results can give you a clearer idea of how far you’ve come and how much farther you have to go.
Thankfully, there’s an app for that!
There are also many other workout apps floating around, such as Yoga Studio and JEFIT.
A smart weight scale is useful too, as it can do a full body composition analysis, measure your cardiovascular health, track several users within your household, and even sync with smart apps.
#7 – Stretch Before and After
Warming up and cooling down are key to a beneficial workout, which is where stretching comes in. Although there are differing opinions on its efficacy, stretching can help increase both flexibility and muscle strength and can also soothe muscle soreness.
If you find that stretching is not for you because of particular aches and pains, that’s okay. Just do a weaker imitation of your workout as a warm-up session. For example, you could jog in place or walk briskly before a run.
As for cooling down, you could also walk — gradually slowing your pace this time.
#8 – Keep Yourself Accountable
Trying to stick to an exercise routine alone tempts you to bend your rules and eventually give up. “Well, I chose to do this, so I can also quit if I want.
Don’t let it just be you.
Join our community to find people who share the same “why,” obstacles, struggles, and goals. Join the family, and never exercise alone. When you and someone else work toward difficult exercise goals together, there’s accountability. And with strength in numbers, the journey is easier.
Also, the more people you tell about your progress, the better. Telling people you trust will allow them to encourage you along the way. Who doesn’t find that type of positive reinforcement helpful?
So, before you try to go it alone, remember: “Teamwork makes the dream work.”
#9 – Find Your Favorite Exercise
As we all know, doing something we love is more fun. So why not apply this principle to your workouts?
Sure, sometimes exercise isn’t fun, but when you find the moves you like, you’ll enjoy doing them. That’ll keep working out from feeling like an obligation.
There will be a skip in your step as you head to the gym. Maybe you’ll even sign up for that workout class that does what you’re into.
If you’re not sure what you like yet, don’t worry. It’s all part of the learning process. Consult with your workout buddy or trainer for advice. Do some research. There are tons of exercise types and subtypes. Get out and try them all. Trying new things is part of the fun!
Worst case scenario: If you get bored with a workout routine, you can change it up to try something new.
#10 – Reassess Your Fitness Needs
As you move forward with your fitness plans, what you established at the beginning will probably need to change . . . which is awesome! That means you’re on the right track!
So what’s next?
As your health, strength, and endurance improve, challenge yourself to see what your body is capable of in its new state. Diversify your routine to exercise different muscle groups. Aside from all the online resources out there, a trainer can help guide you in the right direction.
#11 – Get Connected with an Expert
There’s already been some trainer talk throughout this post. That’s because it’s super beneficial to have an expert in your corner. Trainers help you learn what’s best for your body and identify the right program for your needs, all while challenging and encouraging you along the way.
And not only do they provide guidance and accountability, but they also make achieving goals more fun!
With us, you can easily find a trainer to help you smash your goals. Join Exercise.com PRO to start with one of our experts today!
To build a solid foundation for your workout plan, let’s look at some exercise benefits you may not already know. Plus, you’ll need them to look back on when the push gets hard and you forget why it’s all worth it.
So, before you get to work, remember that exercise . . .
– Controls weight by burning calories
According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey for 2009 to 2010, more than two in three adults are considered to be overweight or obese. So fight obesity by working out consistently!
– Combats health issues
There are lots of health problems that working out helps prevent or improve: cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, colon and breast cancer, endometrial cancer, lung cancer, hip fractures, arthritis, and more!
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, anywhere from 120 to 300 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity can decrease your chances of these health issues developing or worsening.
– Improves your mood
Remember dopamine? How about endorphins? Getting active stimulates feel-good chemicals like these in your brain.
– Boosts energy
Exercise increases your strength and endurance. It improves your cardiovascular system and carries oxygen and nutrients to your tissues.
Sounds important, right? That’s because it is!
– Promotes better sleep
According to the National Sleep Foundation, all you need is at least 150 minutes of exercise a week to sleep better and feel more alert during the day. With how busy life gets, we could all use more sleep to stay focused.
Just don’t exercise right before you hop in bed, or you could have too much energy to sleep!
– Amps up your sex life
Improving energy levels and physique with fitness can enhance your sex life. Plus, regular exercise could boost arousal in women. And for men, it could prevent erectile dysfunction.
– Social and fun
There’s that “fun” word again. We’re not just throwing it around!
Make exercise social. You can workout with a buddy — like mentioned before — or if a large-group setting is your cup of tea, join a Zumba class! Go for a run with friends!
Switching up your exercise environment can also help you unwind. Feeling outdoorsy? Go for a hike. Want to stay in? Do yoga on your living room floor.
Now, if you weren’t already convinced that consistent exercise is legit, are you feeling pumped and ready to go? If so, sign up for Exercise.com/Pro today!