It’s January, so everyone must share their perspectives on health/fitness and tell you how/why you must begin to exercise this year.
Why must you/we/us wait until the turn of a calendar year to begin to exercise? It’s silly that we make these “resolutions” to be or do something this year and yet so often fail. But why is that?
Is it because of lack of commitment to the process? Do we fail because we are lazy? Because we simply are not willing to put in the work? Lack of time?
Habits form and are very difficult to break. It is much easier to simply sit than to get up and move, but it shouldn’t be. It should be second nature to move and be active for our overall health and wellness.
So why is this the article you must read? Because it is going to tell it to you straight. You know the health benefits of exercise. You know you should be exercising to improve how you feel. You know that, if you just exercised, you would have less pain and an easier time completing daily tasks. So, that is not where I am going to head with this.
I am going to tell you exactly how to succeed. How to move and feel better. And how to get back to enjoying life again.
Step 1: Understand that it is not going to be easy. You are going to have to put in some work if you wish to make gains. And, yes, starting out will most likely be difficult. But if you will just hang in for six weeks, you will form that new habit. You know, the non-lazy habit of being active versus sitting on the couch watching TV all night. Recognize that your body may hurt a little when you begin a new exercise program. This is normal. That initial soreness will fade if you keep at it. But avoiding exercise until you feel good again does not work. If you have concerns, talk with a qualified health professional to be sure you are starting and working at an appropriate level or to address those injury concerns.
Step 2: Pick something you think you will enjoy and enlist a friend. If you choose an activity you know you will hate, you are sure to stop. But if you pick something you believe you will like, you have a shot. The friend part—misery loves company? No, having someone to help hold you accountable for your workouts will ensure you stay true to the plan this year.
Step 3: Realize that you will need to carve out some time in your schedule for this. I know what you are thinking—I am too busy with work and life. So is everyone who exercises. But they made the conscious decision to make exercise a part of their weekly or daily routine. No excuses anymore—only action!
There you have it—the blueprint for success with exercise this year. I just took away your excuses, objections and rationalizations. The next step is getting going. Here is to actually achieving those health and wellness goals this year.
Dr. Andrew Zang is board certified in orthopedics and a fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Physical Therapists.