How To Develop An Exercise Routine You’ll Actually Stick To
The best exercise routine is one that you’re motivated to stick to. Several factors determine whether you’re likely to keep up with your routine, and these include convenience, enjoyment, desired results and cost. However, coming up with your personalized exercise regimen by considering and organizing these factors is half the fun. Whether you choose to jot down notes, create spreadsheets or use an app, the decision to make exercise a regular part of your life means making a commitment to yourself and your health! Check out my recommendations below to learn how to make room for fitness in your life and build a consistent physical activity routine.
It doesn’t matter how many amazing instructors your yoga studio has or how great the equipment at your gym is - if you’re not going to make it there consistently, those factors don’t really matter. Fitting movement into our busy schedules is challenging, but with a little planning we can make it happen.
Start by mapping out how often you want to exercise, the time you want to go and how far you’re willing to travel. Not to worry if you can’t open up time away from home to exercise (I see you busy parents!) - the pandemic has taught us that working out in our living rooms or backyards is definitely an option. Many studios and fitness instructors will have their own classes and workouts posted online as well.
If you are looking to exercise outside of your home, do some research to find out where your nearest gym or fitness center is. Could you make it there and back during your lunch break or swing by after work? If you are a parent, a big pro could be whether or not the facility offers childcare or is located near an activity that your child could be dropped off at while you work out. If you are planning to attend workout classes, take a look at the schedule and make sure the timing lines up with your own availability.
Simply put, if it’s not going to bring you joy, it’s going to be harder to stick with your chosen exercise. There are obvious exclusions here for medically prescribed workouts, but if you have free reign over the type of exercise you choose, I recommend picking activities that you find fun! I personally love yoga, so you are going to find me in a yoga studio 100% of the time over a cross fit gym. Maybe you’re a tennis fanatic or you love to swim - make whatever gets you moving your focus and build your routine from there. Social butterflies might want to look at a running club or group fitness classes. Can’t get enough of the great outdoors - maybe biking and hiking are going to be your thing. Have a couple of little ones in tow? What about power walks and stretching in the park? Activity is crucial and having fun while you do it, always feels extra good!
Before you begin your exercise routine it’s helpful to set goals. If your goal is to move your body for 1 hour daily, you could break your goal into quarters and schedule 15 minute walks throughout the day. Boom. Goal accomplished!
Maybe your goal is more specific - perhaps you want to regain core strength after pregnancy, train for a marathon, or you’re looking for mental wellness and stress relief. A restorative yoga class is going to be ideal for rest and relaxation but it’s not going to get your heart rate up. In this case you want to choose workouts and activities that complement each other and help you achieve all of your goals.
Working out can have a hefty price tag attached to it or it can be virtually free - it all depends on what your budget is and where your priorities lie. Particularly in the warmer Canadian months, exercising outside is a fun, economical way to stay fit. For the price of a pair of sneakers, a bike or soccer ball, you can have a blast keeping active in nature.
Many studios and fitness centers have intro-month deals where you can try out the facilities for a reduced rate. If you love the vibe and want to stick with the program, you can often save money by purchasing packages of classes or a monthly membership. Just remember to read the fine print in case you want to cancel or pause your commitment. It’s important to know precisely what you’ve signed yourself up for.
Technology is not a must, but when used mindfully, it sure can support us in creating and sticking to an exercise routine. I use the MINDBODY app to schedule my yoga classes as well as my apple watch to track my workouts and enjoy runs with a virtual trainer. I have the ALO and YYOGA apps as well as alltrails for hiking. I schedule my workouts like I would any other important activity. They go in my calendar, and I get an alert to remind me to get ready to sweat!