|What is my goal?
|How do I get there?
||“Enjoy lifelong activity!”
|What do I do?
Make a lifetime commitment, increase workload as needed (longer time, faster pace, more weights, more reps or multiple sets), Take a fitness test (pre/post/periodic), Re-evaluate & modify goals. If you drop out, jump back in!
|How do I make it work?
||Monitor progress, Try new things, Encourage others to join in, Become a leader, Set realistic goals, Set long-term goals
Starting a fitness program is only half the battle. Maintaining a physically active lifestyle is the ultimate challenge. As you progress through the steps to building an active lifestyle, you reach the final step, Get Regular! This step is the lifetime achievement for physical activity.You don’t have to be an athlete or competitor, and you don’t have to abandon other areas of your life. It simply means that you are making a lifetime commitment to a healthy, active lifestyle. If you already have a basic fitness routine, try some things to help keep you motivated to continue.
First of all, fit your new plan into a schedule. If you are a routine-driven person, pick out your time to exercise and put it on the calendar. Treat it as important as eating, brushing your teeth or going to work. If you don’t like routine and prefer to be more spontaneous, wake up each day and ask yourself where you might fit it in today. Take along some clothes and be ready!
Choose a temporary plan instead of one you expect to maintain for the rest of your life. Permanent ones may set you up for failure. Plans not only do change…but they need to change. Just as responsibilities change, schedules also change. Even the weather changes, so be prepared to mix up your activity.
Set achievable goals you know you can accomplish.
For example, whatever routine you are doing, decide to do it for three months and then re-evaluate it. Maybe you will want to do something different or perhaps you will need to adjust to seasonal weather changes. Commit to a period of time to do your routine, re-evaluate and then adjust it.
Take a fitness test at the beginning of your three-month program (pre-test) and again at the end (post-test). Ask an expert, certified trainer or go online. There are lots of simple fitness tests to do). You will be amazed at how much stronger your heart and other muscles have become after just a few months.
After that, take periodic tests and revise your plan as needed. Maybe your routine is becoming too easy or even feels too hard. Adjust your plan to prevent failure. And remember, its plans that fail, not people. So make sure you have a plan that is right for you. Invite a friend or family member to exercise with you. Set up a date ahead of time so that you will be less likely to cancel. Join a running, biking or walking club. Involving others will help you stay committed. Every time you encourage new people to join your activity, the fun will start all over again! If you love routine, make it a habit. But, also try new things with different people. There are lots of fun things you can do so you never tire of the same routine. Stay active by getting trained to teach others. Become a certified leader or exercise instructor and volunteer at a local health facility. Most importantly, don’t quit! If you miss a few days, weeks, months or even longer, it’s OK! Think of it as the break you needed to remind yourself how much you love to move.
Do not compare yourself to others. It is your life, your health and your personal active lifestyle, and each one looks different. Create your own experience.
- Thompson, Gordon, and Pescatello, (Eds.). (2009). ACSMs Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription, 8th ed.
- U.S. DHHS. (2008). 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. http://www.health.gov/paguidelines/