Taking that first step to get motivated and stay active can be difficult, especially with out busy lifestyles. Studies tell us it takes six months to make or break a habit, so perseverance is key. The first step is to be honest with yourself and recognize that you are the most important member of your healthcare team. There isn't a pill you can swallow to improve your level of fitness or take the place of self-responsibility. After you have set goals for yourself, tell your family, friends and co-workers about your plans and ask for their support in helping you stay on track. Talking with others who have been successful for tips can be very helpful as well. When starting an exercise program, it is generally safe for healthy people to begin by exercising three days a week for 30 minutes for the first few weeks. By the fourth week, exercise frequency should increase by one day or the duration of the activity should increase by 10-15 minutes per exercise session. It's also important to monitor exercise intensity periodically throughout each workout. Healthy individuals should aim to achieve an exercise heart rate between 70-85% of maximal heart rate after the first few months of activity. Older adults may need to start at an intensity level less than 70%. We often stay motivated when we have a certain routine. Scheduling your workouts for the same days/times each week will help you get into a pattern that will be easier to stick with and follow. Keep a journal of what you do each day to log your progress as well. Once that routine is broken, say if we get sick or go on vacation, it can be frustrating to rebound. These occurrences often result in a lack of motivation when its time to resume that normal routine. The best medicine is returning to your program, but with modifications. Jumping right back in where you left off may leave you feeling discouraged and wanting to quit. Seek professional advice from a qualified trainer to get you back on track safely and effectively.
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