How many times have you started an exercise program and didn’t stick with it? Maybe it was at the start of a new year or your doctor told you that you need to do it for your health or a friend wanted to start one and you went along with it to support her.
Ever wonder why it didn’t work?
And how can you make your exercise program a success this time?
It’s really about HOW WELL YOU KNOW YOURSELF. We all are aware of the many health benefits of exercise:
- Heart health
- Weight loss
- Good for muscles and bones
And the list goes on….
But we are all made different. We have different likes and dislikes from each other. So what works for one person may not work for you.
As much as I love yoga, you will never find me in a “hot” yoga class. But give me a Yin class and I am blissed out.
Or a treadmill is the most boring machine for me. But when I do jump board on a Pilates reformer for cardio, 15 minutes seems like five!
So that’s why it’s important to know yourself and find an exercise form that works for you. Just because a certain type of exercise is popular or your friend likes it, doesn’t mean that it’s for you.
How discouraging is it when your friend can’t wait for the next class and you have to drag yourself to go? Or worse, you start making excuses to her why you can’t go and then feel so disappointed in yourself for letting her down.
Now I realize it’s much more fun to exercise with someone (plus there’s that accountability factor)! But it is also a way to make new friends who may become accountability partners. And possibly save your original friendship!
So let’s look at some ways you can help yourself stick with an exercise program.
First, and probably the most important, is to learn to LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. If you have back issues, a Pilates mat class might be difficult, but a swim class would be less strenuous.
When I worked at a physical therapy clinic, there were so many patients being treated for various exercise injuries because they fell prey to the “No Pain, No Gain” phrase. That phrase is so wrong. Exercise should not be painful.
At the first twinge of pain, stop exercising!
Probably the most popular reason people fail at an exercise program is that they jump in gung-ho rather than STARTING WITH BABY STEPS. Now while enthusiasm is important, less is best. Let your body get used to this new program.
This is also the reason so many people fail at diets. You can’t expect your body to respond the way you want when you make a drastic change in a short time.
Better to workout 2 days a week at shorter times and let your body adjust. Your body needs to get acclimated to this change. Plus your muscles need time to recover after a session.
The first year I was teaching Pilates mat classes at a gym, right after Christmas all the regular “gym rats” started saying good-bye and that they would see me in March. I was confused! Everyone is pumped to exercise right after the holidays. What’s up?
Well, the regulars knew that the gym would be bursting at the seams with new enthusiastic clients right after the new year. And that they would, of course, want the prime times.
So the regulars started coming at off times until about March when the enthusiasm of those new clients wore off. And sure enough, every year it did!
Make sure the type of exercise you choose FITS YOUR LIFESTYLE. If you barely make it to work on time, don’t plan to exercise before work. Some people will exercise before going home from work because they know once they get home, they will not want to go back out or have other obligations to tend to. Learn to schedule your sessions so you aren’t tempted to cancel. You don’t cancel your hair appointment because you know you will look and feel better after and it’s the same with exercise.
PAY FOR A FEW SESSIONS before investing in a long-term program. Many people pay for packages because they feel that if they have invested the money, it will motivate them to go. But if you don’t like that form of exercise, then no amount of money will inspire you and you will just loose the money you invested.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR MODIFICATIONS. A good instructor or trainer will ask if you have any injuries and then provide modifications as needed. But many times, especially younger instructors, think everyone can do the exercises like they can. Or in many cases, they are not even taught how to modify and exercise.
Sessions should not be once size fits all!
So don’t be afraid to speak up. However, if you need too many modifications, then you might want to try a different form of exercise.
REWARD YOURSELF Set up a reward system with yourself – maybe monthly – so that when you have completed your sessions for that time frame, you do something special for yourself. Doesn’t have to be expensive. Just a little gift to yourself for all your hard work. However, having an extra piece of pizza because you worked out, is not considered a reward!! And most of all BE AWARE OF YOUR MINDSET. If you look at exercise as something you HAVE to do, like a chore or your doctor told you to, then sticking with it is not going to be easy. Nor will you enjoy it.
Use positive affirmations:
I am giving my body the self-care it deserves
This is my special time for myself
If you treat your body with care, it will take care of you.
Feel free to comment below with your exercising experiences. I’d love to hear about them!
In Peace and Good Health,
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