If you're like many Americans, you made a resolution to hit the gym this year and get in better shape. If so, congratulations for taking that first step! It's never too late to make your health a priority, and there are a variety of ways you can be active, even without joining a gym. It's also important for you to have an effective workout that will provide maximum health benefits. Here are some tips to help you get the most from your workout routine:
Setting goals is key to success when it comes to changing behaviors. First, make sure the goal is attainable. For example, if you've never exercised before, running a 5K in one month may not be realistic. However, you can set smaller goals that will ultimately help you achieve a larger one. For example, set a goal of walking 15-20 minutes, five days a week. The next month, you can extend that time or start jogging instead of walking. Use your smaller goals as stepping stones to help you achieve a bigger one.
Want results? Then you've got to stick with it. There's no program that will give you results if you don't do it regularly. Even 15-20 minutes of exercise on most days of the week can give you better results than occasional bouts of exercise that last longer.
Follow an Effective Workout Routine
An effective, well-rounded exercise routine includes a combination of strength training and cardiovascular training. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend most adults get 30 minutes of physical activity on most days of the week and a minimum of 20 minutes total body strength training, twice per week. Learn more about the recommendations for physical activity from the CDC.
Exercising with a friend or partner is an excellent way to stay motivated and accountable toward your goals. It's also more fun and you'll be more likely to stick with it, which means better results.
Make Your Plan Work With Your Daily Routine
If you're extremely busy during the day or don't like structured physical activity, think outside of the gym. There are countless ways you can be active when it's convenient for you, including walking or jogging in your neighborhood, dance classes or even playing with your kids.
Find an Activity You Enjoy
The key to getting active and staying active is to enjoy it. If you hate the gym, you're not going to enjoy going, and you'll stop before long. However, if you love swimming, you are more likely to be consistent with a program. Also, make sure it's convenient.
Regular exercise is one of the best things you can do for your health. Learn more about ways you can be active from the CDC.