Anyone who has tried to start a healthy habit knows that it isn’t always easy. How many New Year’s resolution novice gym members are still exercising regularly now that we’re into March? It’s the same story every year. Two things any new exerciser needs are motivation and information. Many resources are available to help novice exercisers start—and stick with—an exercise program. Check out these resources that provide both.
The motivation to exercise for might be a recent illness or surgery, the need to look good for a big event (such as a wedding or a high school reunion),or advice from a doctor to exercise to reduce the risk for health problems such as diabetes, obesity, or a heart attack.
The web site FamilyDoctor.org is one source for motivating new exercisers. The site emphasizes that any physical activity is better than nothing, which can be reassuring for new exercisers who may feel intimidated by the idea of regular exercise. Some of their motivational tips include:
-Start slowly. Start with 10 minutes of activity, which can included walking, doing housework or yard work at a fast pace, or using a machine at a gym.
-Find the fun. Do something you like and you will be more motivated to stick with it. If you hate running, don’t run. If you like to dance, go dancing, or put on some music at home and boogie in your kitchen.
-Allow time for recovery. Many new exercisers make the mistake of overdoing it on the first few workouts, so they are sore, overly tired, and less likely to continue.
-Fit exercise into your schedule. It’s hard for new exercisers to figure out when to fit in a workout. If you joined a gym, try going when a favorite TV show is on, and watch it while walking on a treadmill or riding a stationary bike. Or save your favorite magazine and make a deal with yourself that you can only read it if you’re on the bike!
-Be flexible. Try tracking your exercise schedule on paper or online, but give yourself permission to take a day (or two) off if you need a break. The important part is to get started again.
Tracking workouts can be motivational tool for new exercisers and provide information to look back on as they improve. Some options for online exercise tracking:
MyFitnessJournal: This free, multipurpose tool allows users to track diet and body measurements as well as workouts.
Free Workout Log: As the name suggests, this online tool is free, and includes blog posts with exercise tips and links to exercises for specific muscle groups.
Video Fitness Resources:
Beginning exercisers who want to get started in the comfort of home should check out the video selections at SparkPeople.com. There are video workouts for a range of skill levels, including this 10-minute cardio workout for beginners.
All these tips and resources can help take the new year’s resolution and turn them into good habits that last all year.