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Tips To Keeping Those New Years Fitness Resolutions

Tips To Keeping Those New Years Fitness Resolutions

By: Michelle Millner, PT, DPT

Its decided.  2013 will be the year you  “join a gym”, “lose weight”, and “get in shape”.  Those are exciting and healthy new years resolutions.  The problem is that by mid to late January 88% of people begin to give up on their goals and head back to the 2012 lifestyle. The good news is you do NOT have to be among those statistics! 

The reason most fitness goals fail is simple:  the goals are not specific enough and most people don’t have a specific plan to accomplish those goals.  When you set a general goal like “join a gym” there is no mention of what you are going to do once you have the gym membership, what kind of activity you will participate in,  or how often you will be able to get to the gym.  Additionally, if you don’t naturally enjoy exercising, chances are you will find reasons not to go very quickly. 

In order to help you achieve your New Year’s fitness resolutions, I have listed some helpful tips. 

1) Choose an activity that you enjoy

 

If you don’t enjoy going to the gym, you will find a reason not to go. Find another activity you enjoy.  If you enjoy walking, perhaps join a walking group.  If you prefer sports join a local recreational league.   If you enjoy cycling, consider spin classes. Choose something you will actually look forward to doing.  Facilities such as the Madison and Summit Area YMCAs have many options for exercise.

2) Find a buddy/friend/family member to do it with you

When the going gets tough, most of us need some encouragement to stick with the plan.  Ask someone who also has the same goals and/or interests as you and keep each other accountable.  You will be more likely to stick with your new activities and fitness plan.

3) Set small, measurable goals

It is easy to get discouraged if your goals are lofty.  Goals should have a task and a timeline involved.  For example: I will jog/walk a 5k in April 20, 2013.  That is a great long term goal, but if you get winded going up a flight of stairs, it might be best to pick a short term, smaller goal to keep you motivated. A better goal might be: I will walk 30 minutes on the treadmill at 2.5 mph in 2 weeks. Once you meet that goal in 2 weeks, you can set another progressive goal towards your long term 5k goal.     

4) Increase your fitness level outside of the gym. 

 

The more active you stay throughout the day the more calories you will burn and the faster you will achieve your fitness goals.  Try parking your car a little further away, or perhaps take the stairs up to your office.  These are simple changes that can really impact your fitness level in the long run.

5) Increase your activity level slowly.  

This ties into tip #3.  Pace yourself when you progress your exercises.  Each exercise session should leave you feeling like you got a good work out, but not so exhausted that you don’t ever want to repeat that work out again.  Set reasonable and steady goals.  Your body will thank you.  

arm bike6) Enlist the help of a professional to get you on the right track.

Starting an exercise program can be daunting.  If you have any medical conditions or previous injuries that may be aggravated by increased activity, consider seeing a physical therapist for a thorough fitness evaluation.  The professional guidance in realistic goal setting and proper exercise prescription might just be what you need to succeed.

Our offices are conveniently located in the Madison & Summit Area YMCAs in New Jersey.  This makes it easy for our physical therapists to create an exercise plan for our patients and to instruct them correctly using the YMCA equipment.  You do not need a YMCA membership to visit us.  To schedule an appointment or to speak with a therapist please call our office at 973-270-7417.

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