6 Weeks into the New Year…Are You Holding on to Your Resolutions!
I am sure that many of you feel as I do…it is hard to believe that I am living in the year two thousand and TWENTY-TWO! Moreover, I hope you share my sentiments that each year, despite the trials and challenges of the pandemic, each month, week, day, and minute is a gift, not to be taken for granted. And that is why we resolve at this time each year to make a concerted effort to improve ourselves; mentally, physically and spiritually, so that we may live a longer and healthier life, in order to spend more time with the friends and family we love.
Not surprisingly, getting physically fit and losing weight are the top resolutions to begin each New Year. According to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, 10 million Americans choose to join one of the 45,000 health clubs and hope to get fit and healthy for life (in non pandemic years). Unfortunately, if starting an exercise program is the hard part, than sticking to it is the hardest part. And, with the Omicron surge limiting access to indoor gyms and fitness centers, compliance may be even more challenging this year.
Once the initial excitement and enthusiasm wears off, so too does the discipline and determination necessary to overcome the many distractions in our lives to make exercise a priority for life. Diane Klein, PhD polled long-term exercisers (those exercising at least 3 times per week for more than 13 years) what motivated them to “stick with the program.” The answers are in order of importance. Please note that “appearance” was NOT at the top of the list.
10 Motivators to Stick to an Exercise Program
Feelings of well-being
Pep and energy
Enjoyment of the exercise
Making exercise a priority
Tips to Stick to an Exercise Program
Add variety to your program – stick to your basic program to meet your goals but add variety to stick to your program. On off days walk in the woods, play tennis, ride a bike, and swim. One day do upper body and the next lower body.
Find an exercise buddy – no one wants to let their buddy down so the likelihood of compliance is much greater when you have someone depending on you. Make sure it is a good match…someone with positive energy!
Make exercise a priority – friends and family must understand that this is important to you. It is a non-negotiable part of your day, like taking a vitamin or brushing your teeth.
Exercise first thing in the morning – For many people it is best to exercise before all of the demands of the day come into play
Exercise on the way home from work – For others, it is best to exercise after they fulfill their other obligations but before they get home, eat and settle in. Some days it will vary.
Exercise even when you are tired – keep in mind that you will be energized after you exercise.
Keep a log of your exercise – writing down the dates, times, speed, distance, reps and sets can help you monitor your progress.
Look for signs of progress – the scale is only one sign of progress. Make note of how your clothes fit, how much energy you have, the pep in your step and the improvement in your exercise log.
Walk – incorporate walking into your daily routine. Walk to the store, walk the dog, walk when you play golf and take the stairs.
Reward yourself – this is an individual preference but try to avoid a food overdose. For example, buy a new dress when you lose 10 pounds, go awayfor the weekend for the next 10 pounds. Do whatever works for you.
Monitor Progress – Use Technology - Electronic Fitness Monitors or Wearable Tech Monitor provide feedback and motivation.These devices use GPS technology to help the user track their activity to get more out of their exercise routines. They monitor activity, heart rate, distance, location, calories, and more. Some examples are: Pedometers , Activity Trackers, Running Watches, and Heart Rate Monitors
Personal Trainer Gift Certificate or Home Virtual Trainers - This can be an opportunity for someone to either get the proper advice from a professional (in person or virtually) to begin a fitness program or to revamp and tune up an old stale program. Word of mouth is a good way to find a reputable certified trainer. Virtual Examples are: Peloton – (bike, treadmill); Mirror Exercise and FightCamp
Source: WebMD, Mayo Clinic
NEXT MONDAY – Read Dr. Paul J. Mackarey “Health & Exercise Forum!”
This article is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. If you have questions related to your medical condition, please contact your family physician. For further inquires related to this topic email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Paul J. Mackarey PT, DHSc, OCS is a Doctor in Health Sciences specializing in orthopaedic and sports physical therapy. Dr. Mackarey is in private practice and is an associate professor of clinical medicine at GCSOM.