If you’re really serious about losing weight, it’s important to take regular exercise as well as following a healthy eating plan. Both work together beautifully, and long-term success is dependent on both.
What are the 6 steps to becoming more active?
1) Know your goals
I’ve already discussed setting goals to help us achieve healthier eating regimens, but it is also important to set goals for exercise as well. Ask yourself “What are my short-term exercise goals”? It may be to walk 10 minutes a day, three days a week, and try to build up to six days each week. Or it may be to join a fitness class, start using an exercise video in your own home, or to take up gardening.
Whatever your goals are, record them and display in a visible place at home, work or in your car. It is also a good idea to track your progress by writing down what you have done each day, including the type of activity and how long you spent doing it. Seeing your progress written down will help you to feel motivated to continue.
2) Set a date
Set a date when you will start focusing on your exercise goals. The date may be the first meeting of an exercise class which you’ve signed up for, or the date you will meet your friend for a walk after work. Write the date on your calendar in bold writing, and stick to it, no matter what.
The good news is, if you consistently take regular exercise, it will eventually be less of a chore, and will actually become part of your daily life. Don’t keep putting the date off, it’s best to start today, there really is no better time!
3) Find an exercise partner
For some, exercising on their own is particularly difficult. Make the effort easier on yourself by asking a friend or family member to exercise with you for extra moral support.
You may also want to ask them to keep a check on how you’re doing. Give them ideas on how they can be supportive, for example offering words of encouragement, looking after your children while you exercise, or checking how your healthy eating plans are going. You may also find it useful to join an exercise class for additional support and encouragement.
4) Keep a record of your measurements
Keeping records is an excellent way of staying on track and focused. When you start to see improvements in your measurements, you will feel like your hard work is paying off, and it is really worth the effort.
Record your weight, waist circumference, and even the top of your thighs, once each week.
5) Be prepared
Prepare for your workout the night before by packing your gym bag, or if you work out at home, leave out your sports clothes, so that when you get home, you’ll be ready to get started. This way, you’ll be less likely to skip your exercise plan, as you’ve taken the time to plan ahead, and have therefore prepared mentally for the task.
6) Eat regularly
It is extremely important that you eat regular meals when you’re exercising. Eating regularly will help to keep your blood glucose balanced and prevent a ‘slump’ in your energy levels. Include plenty of high fibre carbohydrates, fruit and vegetables and also remember to drink 8-10 cups of fluid daily. If you’re working out after a long day at work, it may be a good idea to have a small snack before hand, such as a banana or half a sandwich.
I really encourage you to try out different activities to find one which you fully enjoy. It will be very difficult for you to maintain your new exercise goals, if you don’t enjoy what you’re doing. If your aim were to attend the gym five times each week, however in reality, you hate working out in the gym, you will find it really difficult to stick with, and will be more likely to fail.
You may find it useful to discuss your options with friends, and try to come up with something that suits your personality. There are so many activities to get involved with, and there definitely is something for everyone! It’s also a great opportunity to try out new things.