Creating an Exercise Routine That Fits Your Lifestyle

in Lifestyle,Well-being

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Some people thrive on it. Others cringe at the mere word. Then there are those of us who tolerate it so we can have our pie a la mode without too much guilt. Regardless of how we feel about it, it has to be a part of our daily life.

So why — even when we commit ourselves to getting fit — is it still so easy to get off-track? One culprit is creating an exercise program that’s unrealistic. Some excuses are bogus (my purple gym shorts are dirty; the black ones make my butt look big!), while others are entirely legitimate. Your work schedule may leave you with less free time than you imagined, or you have health issues that restrict your options.

That’s why it’s so important to develop an exercise program that fits in with your lifestyle. Like every goal, staying fit requires some planning. By constructing a well thought-out exercise program, you’ll be guaranteeing long-term success.

Pick the right exercise

Select an exercise (or two or three!) that is compatible with your fitness level. Be honest with yourself, even if your initial workout routine seems a little wimpy. You should definitely challenge yourself, but keep it realistic. Otherwise you’ll probably feel frustrated and feel like giving up.

Also — and this is very important — pick an activity you enjoy. Using the elliptical is a great cardio workout, but you might find it 100% boring. Instead, you could play a game of racquetball with a friend from work. Find something you can look forward to, and you’ll be more likely to stick with it.

Stick to a schedule

You get up at the same time every morning. You work set hours. You make appointments when you need a haircut, or your car needs an oil change. Daily exercise should be scheduled, too.

Pick days and times that fit in with your daily routine and again, be honest. A goal of heading to the gym every night at six o’clock is great — unless you don’t get home from work on time, at which point you’re too worn out to do more than organize some dinner and relax. On days when your routine is going to be disrupted, you’d be better off planning an alternative form of exercise, such as devoting 20 minutes of your lunch hour to a brisk walk.

To join or not to join?

When you start out on a new fitness program, you’re gung ho. You buy new shoes and a couple of workout outfits, and you’re ready to sign up at the local gym. But before you fork over that membership fee, stop to consider whether working out at a gym is really right for you.

Working out at the gym means packing up your gear and getting there — and back. That can tack on at least 30 minutes to the time you have allotted for exercising.

The prospect of going through the pre- and post-gym ritual can be such a turn-off that you never end up exercising. That’s not to say that joining a gym isn’t beneficial, or that no one can commit to it. Rather, just know yourself and your schedule, and remember that you can get a good workout at home, too. Or, you could incorporate a walk, run or bike ride to the gym as part of your routine.

You wouldn’t wear a neon green shirt covered in pink flamingos if your personal style is business casual. You wouldn’t eat at a sushi bar if raw fish gives you the willies. So why exercise in a way that doesn’t you suit your personality? More than extra-cushioned tube socks or a membership to a high-tech gym, being true to your lifestyle is the real secret to fitting exercise into your life.

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