Even if you’re committed to losing weight, the prospect of engaging in a consistent exercise routine can sound exhausting, if not impossible.
However, for many of us, an exercise routine can make or break our weight goals. Even if you’re diligently monitoring calories and eating well, weight loss can be slow or stubborn in the absence of an exercise routine.
If you’re anything like the average American, and you think you’re moderately active, you may be fooling yourself: studies have shown that the average American engages in less than half of the recommended amount of exercise each week.
Current Centre of Disease Control (CDC) recommendations suggest that we need at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of weekly vigorous cardiovascular exercise, plus strength training exercises twice a week. And that’s just for disease prevention benefits! The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) suggests that twice that amount is necessary for considerable weight loss.
If all of this has you running scared, relax! With a few tips and a moderate, sane approach, adopting and adhering to an exercise program can be one of the most beneficial undertakings you ever pursue.
The best way to get started is to commit to doing something every day, even if it’s just a fifteen minute walk after dinner. Doing something every day is easier than doing something a few days a week- debating over whether or not to go to the gym on any given day can make you anxious and deter you from exercising, and having the “option” of going another day instead leads to procrastination.
Instead, aim to exercise every day, at the same time, if possible. Establishing your new routine is the first step to getting started.
Don’t start running six days a week if the most exercise you’ve gotten in the past six months has been walking from your house to your car. Adding exercise to your routine gradually allows your muscles, tendons, and skeletal system to adapt to the rigors of exercise: too much too soon equals injury, not fast weight loss.
Instead, start with walking, biking, swimming, or your preferred activity for 20-30 minutes at a time, and add time each week until your reach 60 minutes a day. Choose an activity you enjoy. The best type of exercise is the one you’re willing to do every day.
3.Celebrate your accomplishments
Every time you exercise, you accomplish something. We often spend so much time waiting for the “big” accomplishments (a marathon! weight loss!) that we fail to acknowledge the small victories in between. Consistently reflect upon your progress from the day, week, or month before: are you less winded, enjoying yourself more? Have you consistently exercised for your first solid 7 day cycle?
Ask yourself, what else am I getting from this? Reflect on moods and feelings in general.
4.Acknowledge every benefit
Many people fail to consistently engage in an exercise routine because they become frustrated by a lack of results. Recognize that it takes time for a caloric deficit to accrue, especially at the beginning of an exercise regimen. In the beginning, you aren’t engaging in the type of vigorous, extended exercise that can promote sizable weight loss. Instead, you’re building a base to work up to that point. Be patient, you’ll get there.
In the meantime, acknowledge the multifaceted benefits exercise has to offer: stress reduction, “me” time, and active confirmation that you are moving towards your goal.
5.Stay in your lane
Ever hear the phrase, “Comparison is the thief of joy”?
It’s true. There are always going to be people who are more fit than you: people who can run faster and jump higher, people who look better in a swimsuit and people whose mere existence on the treadmill next to yours is threatening to derail your sense of accomplishment.
Don’t let it. Comparing yourself to others gets you nowhere. Instead of comparing yourself to other people, remind yourself how far you’ve come. You’re there too – you’re trying. That’s all that matters, and it’s a huge improvement over doing nothing.
Comparisons are demotivational. Instead of comparing yourself to the fit individual who’s been inadvertently impinging on your self-esteem, try making friends with them. Ask for a tip or advice. Everyone was a beginner once, and most people are more than happy to help a beginner. You may even make a new friend to help you on your road to success. End the compare-athon.
6.Keep it up, Keep it off
Remember, diet and exercise go hand in hand: they need to be maintained, especially once you reach your goal weight. Many people regain weight because they develop a fantasy ideal that they’ll be able to back off the diet and exercise gas pedal. While you may be able to ease up a little bit, it’s important to monitor your weight and keep moving. Your body and your mind will thank you for it.