With the winter months closing in, it is getting harder and harder to motivate yourself to exercise especially if you have not been exercising for a while.
Indeed, one of most frequently asked questions I get asked in the Surgery is how to start exercising? This is often in response to me saying that exercise is way to alleviate your back pains or that exercise is the way to lower your blood pressure or that exercise is the way to reduce your cholesterol.
Often the advice is given to time-short working people and within the consultation, we have even less time to discuss practical advice on how someone should start exercising in the right way and in the SMART way.
So here is our 3 step guide:
- Identify your goals
This is different for everyone – some people wish to compete in the next Cambridge 10km race but for others it is lose weight for their personal confidence or it may be a medical issue. By choosing a goal, you will be able to track your progress and get closer to it incrementally in a realistic time frame. Choose a realistic goal and give yourself time to reach it.
Make the goal SMART:
Be sure on what you want to get out of exercising
Either by recording your running times, pool lengths, weight or calories burnt, you can track your progress. It’s going to be much more likely that you will reach your goal with incremental small steps.
This is a tricky one! Set something that will push you enough to give you that sense of achievement once you reach your goal.
Is the goal realistic? Your goal is a personal target and hopefully will be the first of many you set and achieve.
Have you given yourself enough time to attain your goal? There is no set answer for and one size does definitely does not fit all. When starting to exercise, it can be difficult to know how quickly you will progress but sticking to a set timetable and schedule will help you exercise regularly. As a rough guide you should try and exercise for 30 minutes three times a week.
- Choose something you enjoy
It will be difficult to stick at something long enough to see the benefits if you do not enjoy it. Start by choosing exercises or a sport that you will find fun. Cambridge is blessed with clubs, parks, gyms and pools where almost every sport or activity is catered for.
- Exercise with Friends
To get a social aspect in your exercise is a great way to start exercising again and keep yourself and your friend motivated. As long as you do not too competitive with each other – it can make sticking to your timetable and goals much easier.