Happy New Year! Yes, it’s that time again where we get to thinking about and setting out our fitness goals for the 12 months ahead. Perhaps you want to get outside more to get fitter, or maybe you need to seriously work on losing that stubborn last 10 pounds.
Getting fit enables you to enjoy a better quality of life in so many ways, like these for example:
- Prevents excess weight gain. Exercising regularly can help prevent you gaining excess weight as well as maintaining weight loss. Physical activities burn calories, and can help you look better and feel better too!
- Helps you sleep better. According to the National Sleep Foundation, a new study has found that getting at least 150 minutes of exercise weekly provides you with a whopping 65 percent improvement in the quality of your sleep. This is especially crucial for Americans to bear in mind as around 35 to 40 percent either feel tired during the day or have problems falling asleep at night.
- Maintains your health. Following a regular exercise regime helps prevent health problems like type 2 diabetes, some cancers, strokes, and more.
- Gives you energy. If you’re feeling tired just living your life, exercise provides nutrients and oxygen to your body and makes your heart and lungs work better.
- Improves your mood. If you’re feeling low after the festivities of the holidays, or even just in general, exercising stimulates chemicals in your brain that make you feel happier and more relaxed in general. Those endorphins can work wonders on your psyche.
We all know that regular exercise is a positive thing, and with this in mind, let’s look at 10 steps to achieve your fitness goals for 2017.
STEP 1 – Ensure You’re Ready
You need to be both mentally and physically ready to begin a new program of exercise. It’s a good idea therefore to have a conversation with your doctor to ensure you’re healthy enough to start. Once you have that in the bag, you need to make sure you’re physically ready too, and that you have the confidence in yourself to maintain your new exercise schedule.
To get the most from your new program, ensure you participate in a form of exercise you enjoy, as well as getting your loved ones involved even if it’s just for encouragement and support.
STEP 2 – Create a Plan
Life is so busy, and before you begin your program, you need to ask yourself the following:
- What type of exercise will you do? From walking to dancing, what type of exercise most appeals to you?
- What times are good for you to work out? Identify at least three days and times per week you want to work out and stick to these as much as you can.
- How much time can you devote to exercise? Begin slowly, with just ten minutes or so a day, slowly building up to a minimum of 30 minutes per session
Planning ahead gives you goals to work towards and helps you keep up with your program.
STEP 3 – Bring Along a Friend
It’s likely that you know someone who wants to get fit in 2017. If so, consider exercising together. This will help you both to maintain focus and to enjoy your program. Find an exercise that you both enjoy and you both have a support system in place as well as lots of inspiration for when you just don’t feel like working out.
STEP 4 – Don’t Do Too Much Too Soon
Exercise should be both enjoyable as well as good for you. Don’t try to do too much too soon. Taking it easy to begin with ensures you keep going well on into the future rather than peaking too soon and potentially giving up.
If you do fall off the exercise wagon, don’t be too hard on yourself. This is entirely normal and, believe it or not, happens to everyone at some point. If this happens to you, take time to figure out what made you stop exercising and to see what you can do differently to maintain your program in the future.
A temporary lapse is something you shouldn’t beat yourself up about. Use it as a learning tool that enables you to plan for the future. Life can sometimes get in the way of your plans. Get to the root cause of the blip, and then move on without feeling guilty.
STEP 5 – Take Note of Your Diet
Keep a diary of what you eat and when, and review this on a weekly basis. This will enable you to identify if and where you need to make changes. Ideally, you’re looking for a mix of fruits, healthy fats like avocado, coconut, and seeds, lean proteins such as fish and chicken, fibrous green veg, and some good natural carbs like high protein breads, tubers and brown rice.
STEP 6 – Invest in Good Athletic Footwear
Your footwear acts as the foundations for your exercise program. To get the most from your athletic footwear, you need:
- Stability to the arch.
- Highly breathable mesh.
- Layers of cushioning.
- Long-lasting performance for high-mileage runs.
In addition, your shoes should promote natural foot motion rather than squeezing your feet into footwear that impedes the movement of your feet. Another essential to be aware of is to find shoes that have a QU!KFOAM™ top layer to cushion each foot strike and opt for wide footwear if your foot calls for it.
STEP 7 – Buy Yourself the Right Workout Clothing
When you exercise, you sweat, and you want to be wearing the most comfortable clothes possible that don’t restrict your movement. What to look for include the following:
- Ventilation such as breathable mesh panels.
- STAYFIT sports bra.
- Compression sports bras for medium to high impact activities.
Interestingly, even though you might feel that wearing pure cotton is perfect for your workout, it’s not. As this fabric absorbs moisture, it makes sweat stick to you. Cotton is slow-drying, too, so you’ll feel like a sweaty mess, rather than a gym bunny. In addition, damp cotton clothing can cause you to suffer from chafing and skin irritation, so opting for lightweight quick-drying fabrics that are specially designed for gym use are a far better option.
If you’re female, one of the most crucial items of workout wear is your sports bra. This protects the tissues and ligaments in your chest from stress and excessive stretching so you can be as active as you like without worry.
If you’re jogging outside in the cold, be sure to wear fitted cuffed beanie as it’s thought that we lose some of our body’s heat through our heads.
STEP 8 – Hydrate
Get into the habit of carrying a small bottle of water everywhere with you and aim to drink regularly throughout the day, not just when you feel a thirst coming on. When you’re dehydrated, your body is less efficient as water is involved in every one of its cellular processes.
Information from the WebMD site says you should be drinking between half an ounce to a full ounce of water daily for each pound you weigh. Remember also that if you exercise regularly and live in a hot climate, you need to drink more, whereas a sedentary person living in a cold place typically needs less.
Check out your urine when you go to the bathroom, if it’s clear or light yellow with very little odor, you’re drinking enough. If you can smell it and it’s dark, turn on your faucet now.
STEP 9 – Get a Good Night’s Sleep
We’ve already talked about how exercise can help to improve the quality of your sleep. However, with all the modern strains on our lives, it’s no wonder that so many of us don’t manage to get a good night’s sleep every night. However, it’s imperative to take care of your body as a whole, especially when you’re starting out on and maintaining your new fitness regime.
Sleeping well brings new quality into your life and as our parents always told us, it’s good practice to get a straight seven or eight hours per night when possible. As exercise and eating well helps in getting your sleeping habits on track, it’s very likely you’ll have the best sleeps you’ve ever had due to being more tired after working out.
Remember also to create and maintain a nighttime routine that makes your body realize it’s time to drop off. Don’t drink caffeine or alcohol near bedtime, stop watching TV and using your smartphone well before you go to bed, and ensure your bedroom is a place of relaxation where you want to snuggle up at the end of the day. As far as exercise goes, try to exercise at least 3-4 hours before you plan to go to sleep to give your body time to wind down.
STEP 10 – Reward Yourself!
When you’ve been following your new program for several weeks, try to keep that momentum going by giving yourself little rewards along the way. These don’t need to be expensive, and could be anything from a healthy meal out to buying yourself a new outfit or two.
Motivation is crucial when you’re attempting to reach your fitness goals, so rewards at each new milestone you reach can play a significant part in helping you to move forward, and to be the best you you can be.
So, if you’ve overdone it a little on all those yummy holiday foods, or you just want to get your health and wellbeing back on track, it’s time to make plans and to create the changes you need and want in your life. By following these 10 steps to achieve your 2017 fitness goals, you can ensure you have all the energy you need to enjoy living life to the fullest!
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