Getting back into shape is a timeless New Year’s resolution. For a month or so, some carefully monitor their diets and religiously get on the treadmill to shed the holiday weight.
But the enthusiasm for a healthy lifestyle wears off. After a few months, it becomes more of a hassle and less of a routine.
How can you stick with it?
Michelle Buker, director of wellness at Colonial in Southwest Ohio, offers several ways to stick to fitness goals. Here are her top five.
Set a clear goal
It’s easier to stick with a goal if you have one to stick to. Don’t set a vague goal like trying to get to the gym more—say you will go at least 3 days a week. Don’t just say you will lose 20 pounds, say when you will lose those pounds by.
Research has shown that it takes 21 days to form a habit. Why not try to create lasting habits by forming a different health-related goal each month? For example, commit to doing a 30-second plank for 30 days in a row, or walking — outside or on the treadmill — for 15 minutes every day for 30 days in a row. Not only will this help you form habits, but it helps you discover what type of exercise you like.
Find a buddy
Getting to the gym or taking a walk outside is much easier when you have someone to go with. You don’t even have to do the same routine at the gym—just motivate each other to get there.
If you are not used to working out, or have trouble with your knees or feet, start small! Try doing just 10 minutes on the treadmill at 2.5 miles per hour and lifting lighter weights for less reps. Slowly but surely, you will be able to extend your workout.
Check with your insurance
If you are worried about the cost of joining a gym and you are a senior, find out if you are eligible for a SilverSneakers or Silver & Fit membership through your insurance — especially if you have a Medicare supplemental plan.
Emily Glaser writes about the diverse wellness needs of older adults for Your Time, a Community First Solutions publication for people age 50 and older.