In the next two weeks, you will hear a lot of advice about how to make your resolutions last. How do you know what advice to follow? Starting or restarting any kind of exercise has its own unique factors to consider. Here are three questions to ask yourself so you can navigate the new year exercise start/restart well, and give yourself the best chance for success.
What is my body telling me?
Your body is your best guide for knowing what to do and how much is enough exercise. It is a huge myth that the start of exercise needs to be hard and painful. There is absolutely no scientific evidence to support this idea. There is a lot of motivation and exercise science to support a slow start that does not leave you sore and tired from day one. I am not telling you anything you don’t already know though. If you have ever started exercising and sufferered through the first two weeks until your body ‘got used to it’ you know what I mean. Its no fun. It slows your progress and it makes your brain resist doing it. Instead, start small and progress gradually letting your body tell you how much is enough to start.
Who is telling me what to do?
Get curious about the reason for doing an exercise. If the exercise or program was created for athletes or military professionals, it was not based on how your body is designed to function in daily life and improve health. You want exercises and programs that were made for you, not borrowed from other types of exercise! When exercises are based on the science of how your body is designed to move and to get stronger for activities of daily life, you will feel better right away. You will see clearly how each exercise you are doing will help you move better that day. Those instant results and benefits will keep your brain wanting you to continue.
How sustainable is this?
Programs designed for reasons other than health, like for athletes for military professionals do not need to consider sustainability of the exercise. Their goals are short term. Your body and brain are in a constant state of change, so your program needs to be flexible if it will be sustainable. Ridged programs designed for results in a certain number of days are set up to be short term. When you want lasting changes, there is no difference between a program to get to your goal and the program to maintain it. Listening to your body and adjusting what you do and how you do it so you feel better each time is the way to make it sustainable for both your body and your brain.
Plan to be successful with your exercise program all year long
Plan on these three key ingredients from the start:
- listening to your body
- doing exercise designed specifically based on the science of exercising for improved health and function
- make it sustainable right from the start
Keep Moving, Be Well and have a very Happy New Year!