Every year after the holidays, and again as spring and warm weather approaches, people everywhere flock to gyms and yoga studios, and take to the streets in a mad dash, hoping that THIS is the year they finally meet their fitness goals.
But in their haste to adhere to a resolution or ready themselves for the beach, most people give very little thought to creating a fitness program that really fits their needs. This year, take some time for self-reflection, and create a fitness plan that’s personalized – just for you.
The most common reason for not working out is lack of time. Between work, family, and other commitments, it can be difficult to carve out time for the gym. If this sounds like your situation, consider getting your exercise in bite size sessions – 20 minutes here, 15 minutes there – with less focus on a lengthy run or studio session, than simply walking at a brisk pace or doing a 10-minute online workout in your living room. If you have the luxury of time, and can afford to spend an hour on your fitness program most days, go for it! If not, search online for “quick cardio home workouts” or “short treadmill workouts” to find short sessions you can fit into your schedule.
Group classes are great for inspiration, but can also make you feel pressured to “keep up” at a level that’s not right for you. Make sure the classes you take are appropriate for your fitness level. Also, personal trainers are there for motivation, not intimidation. If you’re not comfortable with the amount of weight your trainer is suggesting you lift, or you’re feeling weak or stressed, speak up. A good trainer will work with you to find challenging moves that won’t leave you with an injury.
Every day is different, and once you get familiar with all of the different fitness activities you enjoy, you can pick and choose what to do each day. Have a need for speed due to a tight schedule or to reduce stress? Hit the road for a run with a group or on your own. Sore from a strength session, or just need to chill out? A gentle yoga class might be just right that day.
Certainly if you’re training for a marathon or ultra event, or plan to enter a body building competition, you’ll need a more formal plan, serious commitment to a training schedule, iron clad goals, and the assistance of a coach, trainer, or experienced workout partner. But if your goal is simply to live a healthier life, feel better, and stay active, take some time to explore lots of fitness activities, and build a fitness schedule that’s right for you.