Exercise and fitness-related New Year's resolutions are always popular. Riding the New Year momentum makes starting an exercise program in January easy. But now that it's February, it can be hard to stick to it. Life gets busy, the weather is terrible, motivation drops, and the excitement has worn off. Time magazine has estimated that 80% of New Year's resolutions will fail in February. To keep you from being a part of that 80%, we asked PhysioPartners' therapists for their best tips to keep exercising through the February dip and into the spring.
Set realistic goals. Start with small, achievable goals and increase them gradually. Make it easy to win - that helps you build motivation and an exercise habit. For some people that might mean starting with a daily 10 minute walk. For others, a tiny goal like putting on their walking shoes or doing one pushup is the right starting point.
Engage in activities you enjoy. Exercise isn't punishment. Choose activities that are fun! It could be running, walking the dog, dancing, swimming, kickboxing, or playing a sport.
Schedule it. Schedule your workouts like you would any other important appointment. When people ask you to do something else during that time, say "sorry, I've got an appointment."
Don't go it alone. Having someone waiting for you at the gym really motivates you to get there. Having support helps push you to work harder, and motivates you when you're feeling down. Your support could be a friend, the other people in a group fitness class, or a trainer. Apps like Habitshare can make it easiser to work on lifestyle changes together!
Mix it up. Try a new class. If you usually run at the same pace, try intervals. Walk a different route. Doing the same thing over and over again gets boring and leads to burnout. Keep things interesting to stay interested.
Track your progress. Bonus points if you find a way to make it visual somehow. Our brains love to see tasks checked off, a chart or numbers going up, and rings closing. Seeing how far you've come is a great motivator. Keep track of your workouts in a journal, make a spreadsheet, use an app or fitness tracker.
Bribes work. Celebrate your successes, no matter how small. Set a goal to work out 3 times this week and treat yourself to your favorite coffee when you do. Buy yourself a new workout outfit, get a massage, or anything else that will help you stay motivated when you reach milestones.
Adjust. Don't push yourself too hard, especially when you're starting out. If you're feeling tired and sore, take the intensity down. Plan rest days into your routine. Don't make your goal and plan so rigid that it's impossible to complete in the real world.
Forgive yourself! Everyone has setbacks. You're going to get sick. You're going to miss a workout. That's ok. Pick yourself up and get back on track. With the right mindset and a little perseverance, you can reach your fitness goals.
A Wellness360 visit can be a perfect way to stay or get on track! Your physical therapist can help you stay active, build strength and maintain a youthful posture. Your therapist will assess posture, strength, flexibility and balance, considering how your body functions as a whole and with a specific eye towards identifying asymmetries or imbalances. Your therapist will make a personalized recommendations to promote healthy aging and prevent small issues from progressing to joint or muscle pain, helping you turn back time and make the most of the years to come!