December 11, 2010

Keeping your New Year’s resolution

Filed under: By Vadim Vilensky — Administrator @ 3:13 pm

vadim_bw.jpg    Vadim Vilensky

 Every New Year, millions of Americans make a resolution to “get in shape.” Sure, they’ve done it before, but this year they really mean it. Many people join fitness clubs, which are so crowded in January that they have to wait nearly an hour for the next available treadmill. Some buy exercise videos and equipment sold on TV. Others promise to jog or walk every day, or to start using equipment that was stored in their basements and garages for years.

Unfortunately, statistics show that by March only a few of those people are still exercising. Over 90% will face another broken self-promise to get in shape.

Here are few tips, which may help you avoid becoming a part of this statistic:

  1. Do not repeat last year’s mistakes – try something different. Make your exercise more fun by trying a variety of activities. Attempt to find “your thing”, something you like to do. If you hate treadmills, don’t think that if you push yourself to run on it for a month you will “learn to like it”. You will hate it more and will start looking for excuses to skip a workout. Many fitness clubs offer a variety of classes such as spinning, tai chi, jazz dance, etc. Try them all until you find the one that you like and feel that you can stick with it.
  2. Set reasonable short and long-term goals. Goals should be measurable and specific. Assess your progress regularly. Don’t wait a whole year just to realize that you are still in the same shape you were in when you started. If you feel your present routine doesn’t work for you – change it. Find an exercise program that delivers measurable and visible results. When people see results they are motivated to continue working out.
  3. Change your behavior. I often see people coming to a fitness club, taking an elevator to the second floor, spending 30 minutes climbing a stairmaster, and then taking the elevator back to the first floor. Just showing up to the gym 3 times per week for an hour will not compensate for a sedentary lifestyle. You have to become physically active during your day: at work, at home, during your leisure time. The U.S. Surgeon General and the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention have suggested that adults accumulate at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most, preferably all, days of the week. These activities may include: leisure biking, walking, raking a lawn, house painting, or cleaning gutters. While many people do not enjoy formal exercise, these forms of activities can be just as beneficial.
  4. Choose an exercise program that helps you do the things you like to do. In other words, exercise should help people to perform activities of daily living with ease. That’s why an exercise program should be specific to an individual’s needs. If you are trying to improve your golf swing, or lift up your grandchildren from the floor without getting pain in your lower back, your program should emphasize exercises which will help you to do that. A bodybuilding approach or dance aerobics class may not help you in this case. Just like for every sport there is a specific conditioning program that helps athletes to perform better at their game, you should have a customized exercise program that helps you to deal with the things you have to do or like to do in your life.
  5. Get professional help. Personal training can be expensive, but it gives you a better chance to succeed. A good trainer will make your workout more fun, add motivation, set goals, track your progress, help you get results faster, avoid injuries, and make the whole process more comfortable and convenient. For people who have a history of breaking their fitness self-promises, or for those still waiting for the right moment to start, maybe it’s time for them to make an investment in their bodies by hiring a professional trainer.

    Finally, don’t let unexpected setbacks end your fitness program. Many people overreact when something doesn’t work the way they expected. Improving your body is a long-term commitment, and you have to be prepared to meet some obstacles and to cope with them. While there are many potential barriers, lack of time and inconvenience are cited as the most common. Try to divide an activity into shorter bouts and do it more often, exercising at home or on your way to work. Finding activities that fit your lifestyle and interests are key to maintaining regular exercise over a lifetime.


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