Stay motivated to exercise as the year progresses

Staying Motivated to ExerciseThe merriment of the holidays has long past and we are into a new year. It is still OK to make resolutions to improve your life. Many people choose the changing of the calendar as a time to rededicate themselves to physical fitness. If you’re among those who want to improve their fitness, here are some tips so you stay motivated to exercise throughout the year:

Make achievable fitness goals

Think about where you are now fitness-wise, and where you’d like to be in the future and set goals that are realistic. Walking 20 minutes a day may be a good goal to start with if you’re new to exercise. If you’re a marathon runner, making a goal to stretch for 20 minutes per day, or to improve your best time may be more fitting. Once you achieve your short-term goals, develop longer ones to keep your fitness progressing.

Get support from friends, family and peers

Working out with a friend can help you both stay motivated because exercise time will seem more like social time than an obligation, according to the American Heart Association (AHA). A walking buddy, an encouraging spouse, exciting fitness groups and joining a charity running or walking group can be key to staying motivated, enjoying your fitness journey and even motivating others.

Remember why you started

Remembering why you want to be more active is a great way to stay motivated. The AHA recommended writing these reasons down and putting them in a visible place so you’ll see them regularly. This can be a note that you want to lose weight, make a specific run time, improve your blood pressure or fit into an old pair of jeans. These motivating factors can sustain you when the going gets tough, and when you’d rather hit the snooze button than work out.

Track your progress

A good way to stay motivated is to be accountable. Recording the type and duration of your workouts can help you see progress, make goals for the future and identify trends that improve your success. The American Diabetes Association recommended rewarding yourself after achieving your goals to celebrate your accomplishments. Determining this reward in advance can boost your motivation when you don’t feel up to exercising.

Choose an activity you enjoy

Do you hate running, but love playing basketball with friends? Do you loathe lifting weights at the gym, but look forward to your daily yoga practice? The Mayo Clinic noted that choosing an activity you enjoy can make it a more pleasurable activity, rather than a chore. Vary your activities to keep them interesting, and make exercise as fun as possible.

The new year is a great opportunity for a new start, but don’t forget that every day is a good opportunity to get going with a new plan. Stay motivated to exercise, and you can make this year the one you keep your New Year’s resolution.

Image credit: Flickr

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