New Years Resolutions – Exercise
Okay, I admit to having put on a couple of pounds over the Christmas holidays. Like most people, I’ve formed a New Years Resolution to start back on my exercise routine that got lost in the holiday rush.
You may be considering doing the same thing. If so, the tips in this newsletter are designed to help you get back on track.
Set a Goal and Know How to Reach It
Don’t set a goal that’s too high and don’t go “all out,” especially if you’re not used to exercise. Keeping it simple and taking it slow will be most beneficial. If, like me, you’ve been mostly sedentary, then set aside a regular time (1 to 2 days per week for 30 minutes each time) and work from there.
Some forms of exercise come with easy programs, others involve learning skills and planning. The best way to reach your exercise goal is to make it something fun that you enjoy. My favorites are: ballroom dancing and tennis. However, because I don’t do either on a daily basis, I need to supplement with additional things that make me move. I have a home elliptical machine and also have a minimum membership at a small gym. I plan on using them on the days I don’t dance or play tennis.
Either way, start slow. Whatever your goal, making the goal simple and clear and creating a plan to succeed will give you an incentive to exercise.
Look at Your Budget
Most budgets are tighter this year than in the past. However, lack of money doesn’t mean you can’t exercise. If taking up a new sport is your plan, be careful. By the time you've purchased the necessary equipment and/or signed up for a class to learn how to use it, the costs can add up.
If you're planning to take a class or go to a gym, check to see if there are free trials or free passes to try it out. The same goes for investing in equipment. Visit a gym or other facility to check and see if it works for you, before you make a big purchase. Don’t let the sales people talk you into the most expensive item.
Choose a sport or other activity that works for you and your budget. This is the key to continuing to keep it up over time.
Plan Your Time
It’s hard, but if you don't take the time to fit exercise into your busy schedule, you are not going to exercise at all. Find ways to fit it in with possible changes to your morning, evening or lunchtime activities. Create a schedule that works for you then stick like glue to that schedule. Find exercises that work into that schedule.
Forgive yourself when things come up so that you don’t work out. Beating yourself up mentally won’t give you the incentive to continue. Get back on track the next day. Be aware if you are using the same excuses every day (e.g. I had to work late and now I’m tired, etc.)!
Talk to a Doctor and Trainer
Before getting started, it’s always wise to have your doctor check you out to be sure you won’t have any problems prior to working out. Have your doctor give you an assessment of any health concerns that might be aggravated by exercise or any health issues that could be addressed by exercise.
A personal trainer can also do a body composition analysis and help you set goals for yourself. Be sure to tell them exactly where you are at. If you feel the program they design is too aggressive, say so. It can sometimes be hard for trainers to ascertain what it’s like to start out like a sedentary newbie.
Gym Membership vs. Home Gym --- Which One Is Right For You?
Different people have different needs. Look at the “pros” and “cons” of each scenario before deciding to purchase a gym membership or buy home gym equipment.
Home Gym Setting up a home gym can be far cheaper than paying monthly membership fees. If your home has enough space for a home gym, this may be the best alternative for you. You can set up a TV to play your favorite home exercise DVD’s or home movies while you run on your treadmill or walk on your elliptical. Don’t forget about weights for your upper body workout (or used canned goods) or go with inexpensive resistance bands. The choice is yours.
Pro’s -– The equipment is right there when you need it. Seeing it every day can also be a motivator or reminder that you need to work out. You don’t have to worry about waiting for a machine or seeing all those slender 20-somethings that make you feel intimidated. You can take a work out and shower in the comfort and privacy of your own home.
Con’s -- The hardest part about home gyms is actually using it. It’s possible to become complacent when they you are no longer paying those monthly workout fees. You don’t have access to a personal trainer, but there are books available to help.
Also, if your equipment breaks, it’s up to you find out how to get it repaired or replaced. After you start, you might find you don’t have as much space as you thought to set up a home gym.
Gym Membership Going to a gym is the option that some feel works best for their situation. They feel that having personal trainers available, different types of exercises classes and working out with others will help them not get bored and stick with it. It is also possible that paying a monthly fee will help you remember and motivate you to go.
Gyms are usually loaded with amenities designed to lure you into a membership: saunas, spinning classes, basketball courts, pools, etc. offer those extras that you probably can’t afford at home. Try to find one that offers a free orientation to help you assess your level of fitness.
Pro’s –- Some people prefer to workout with others around them. If you are a social person and not intimidated by the youngsters in their skinny gym clothes, this may work for you. Some gyms offer one or more free personal training sessions. Gyms also have specialized equipment that you wouldn’t be able afford or fit in your home.
Con’s -- You might be paying a lot of money each month for classes and equipment you don’t like and won’t use. Some people dislike working out with others around them. If you’re not a social person, you may not enjoy your time at the gym. One of the most frustrating things about gym memberships is that you will probably want to use the equipment during peak hours when everyone else is as well. Good luck trying to find an open cardio machine after work!
As always, the choice is up to you. Happy 2011!
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