By Dr Catherine Allison, Osteopath.
Can you believe it’s already the end of January and, for many of us, the end of summer holidays. For the past 4-6 weeks many of us have had the luxury of being able to exercise when we want to without the restraints of work and life. Not to mention it’s been daylight savings and let’s be honest, it’s been amazing!! So how do you ensure that this healthy habit doesn’t fall to the bottom of your to do list now that we are back at school and work for 2019?
The most important thing to remember is that exercise should be a habit, and not a task. Here are 5 tips to help you stay on track and not let the post holiday blues ruin your winning streak.
1.Make Sure You Choose An Enjoyable Workout
One of the main reasons I see people falling off the exercise wagon is that they have chosen an activity that they simply don’t enjoy. It sounds simple but more often than not people see exercise as a task to achieve a certain goal, and not surprisingly they lose interest or motivation within a few months. It’s important to find something that brings joy to your life and doesn’t feel like a task. This might mean joining a social team, finding someone who shares your interests to go on a walk with. Whatever you chose to do, it must be something that is worth getting out of bed early for or you simply won’t commit.
2. Start Small
If you have not worked out in a while, setting unrealistic goals for your daily workout routine might make you start second-guessing your skills. This may make you feel overwhelmed and become unmotivated. No winners here. It is more important to enjoy the times when you are exercising rather than conquering Everest in an afternoon. After a while your motivation will increase and you can start to add more into your routine. This way we are thinking about the big picture from the get go! This will also avoid over training early and causing injury which will again knock you off the exercise wagon for 2019.
3. Schedule your workout into your day
How many times have you set your alarm at some awful hour only to roll over and press snooze over and over? It is important to make exercise part of your lifestyle and not an additional task you need to add to your ever growing to-do list. I find it helpful to look at my week in advance and schedule times into my diary for training – this way I’m not playing catch up by Friday. You can also use apps on your phone to save these times and remind you with an alarm that it’s workout time. For the long term make sure you take into account days you have early starts or late finishes so you don’t end up trying to squeeze in a workout when you are not feeling yourself. Remember exercise is meant to be enjoyable.
4. Have a helpful support system
Having someone to hold you accountable for exercise makes it much easier to get out of bed in the morning. Enlisting a friend to meet you for a workout means you are less likely to cancel as someone is waiting for you! This might mean joining a team, or pre purchasing class passes, so you are committed to turning up. When working out with a friend, ensure you chose someone of your similar ability and you will find that you are more willing to push yourself.
5. Think long term
Any new exercise program needs to be sustainable long term. How often do we see new year resolutions dissolving with the summer heat simply because they are not realistic? All. The. Time. When setting your exercise program you need to think long term – look for an event to train for, schedule rest days into your program, find a coach to help you plan out your year, and so on. Exercise needs to become a part of your life just like brushing your teeth and eating breakfast. If you want to live a long and healthy life you need to start making exercise a habit and not a chore.
So, next time you think about joining the gym, registering for a marathon, or signing up to kick boxing, make sure you think about your long term goals and your current situation. Otherwise, you will be back on the couch come winter, wondering how you will ever get that elusive summer body for next year.
For more information about creating exercise habits contact the centre or catherine at firstname.lastname@example.org