ASK THE EXPERT:
My New Year’s resolution is to exercise more. What should I do to be successful?
Exercising more is a common goal for the new year—and one that will pay off.
“Exercise is very important to both your physical and mental health, and should be set as a priority,” says Erin Evans, a healthy living director for the YMCA of Greater Kansas City. “The new year is a great time to set fresh goals and essentially start over.”
Evans offers these six tips to make sure you are successful at exercising more, not just in January but for the long term:
6) Set aside and schedule time.
“Prioritize exercise in your schedule and not view it as optional. If you think of it as something you will do no matter how you feel, you will eventually build habits that will lead you to lifelong success. To be consistent and successful with exercise, your routine should be like brushing your teeth. The decision has already been made, like an appointment for you and your health that you should not miss. This also means setting realistic expectations for your routine that you can fit into your lifestyle. If you can schedule 30 minutes three times a week and be consistent with that, that is far better than overcommitting and giving up, and having to start over again.”
5) Set yourself up for success.
“Make sure you have everything needed to follow through and execute your plans. Set out your workout clothes or pack your exercise bag the night before, build enough time for transit, employ the help of a friend or family member to help keep you accountable or even exercise with you. Try to minimize the potential excuses that might keep you from staying committed to your plan.”
4) Try new forms of exercise and find something you like to do!
“You are far more likely to stick with something you enjoy. Exercise can be fun! The Y offers many opportunities to figure those things out with Smart Start appointments and unlimited group exercise classes included with your membership. Maybe try that new kickboxing, yoga or weightlifting class, or do an equipment orientation to learn and feel more comfortable with the equipment on the gym floor.”
3) Give yourself grace and just keep moving.
“Exercising more should be a long-term goal that you will work at for the rest of your life. So if you have setbacks, including traveling, sickness or family scheduling that take you out of your exercise routine momentarily, start it right back up when you can and don’t completely give up. And even if you may not be able to do the workout you had planned, just keep moving and go on a walk, or do a short no-equipment workout in your living room. These are all building blocks to building a consistent routine.”
2) Stay safe at the gym.
“Wellness centers like the Y are open with health and safety practices in place to help you be active. The Y’s new practices to maintain a safe environment include extra cleaning, temperature checks when you enter the building, ample room to spread out during our group exercise classes, face covering requirements and more.”
1) Try virtual options.
“If you are staying home because of health concerns or winter weather makes it difficult to go out, virtual classes and programs can keep you on track. The Y has hundreds of virtual exercise options to help members stay active at home, with more options exclusive to members coming soon. Plus, virtual personal training and nutrition programs.”