Being fit helps in so many ways – making housework and errands easier, being able to play with your children in the park for longer, and generally being around for as long as you can. So it makes sense to create a fitness routine that fits in with your life, and keeps you motivated.
Creating a fitness routine doesn’t have to consist of crazy hours in the gym each week, or a 15 mile run – it is just about consciously putting something achievable together with your schedule in mind, that makes getting (and staying) fit part of your day to day life.
As with any part of your life, getting fit requires getting organised, and it’s always worth assessing where you are, where you want to get to, and what time you have available – so that you can see what’s possible. There is absolutely no point in putting together an unachievable routine that you can’t stick to – as that will help noone in the long term.
#1 – Make your routine fit with your life.
- What time do you have available?
- What is your available budget?
- What is your currently fitness like?
- What do you enjoy doing with regards to exercise?
All these questions need to be asked right at the start of creating a fitness routine that will work for you. If you know what’s possible then you can set yourself up for success rather than failure, and there are less excuses.
You don’t need a gym membership if you haven’t got the budget or the inclination to drive to a gym – you can just as easily go for a walk, a run, exercise at home etc….
There’s also no sense in trying to run 10km in the first week if you haven’t run more than 1km before….
And if you really don’t like swimming – why make this a part of your routine just because you feel you should?
It’s about picking exercise that you can easily have the time, money, energy and drive to do.
#2 – Set yourself a goal
Goals need to be SMART as I wrote in a post a while ago – that means that they should be possible to achieve for you and your lifestyle, and realistic above all else.
Why not set a long term goal of a fitness level, a weight you want to be etc…., and then set smaller goals on a weekly basis to enable you to see how you are doing.
Add your goals to your diary and then work backwards to ensure you stay on track –
For example – “I want to be able to swim 60 lengths of my gyms pool in an hour within 2 months”. This goal should be added into your diary for the date 2 months from now, and then each week up to this date there should be a mini goal that moves you towards your main goal, so you may start on week one by swimming 35 lengths in an hour, and then build up by a few extra lengths each week until you hit your target. Mini goals will help you to stay focused and on track.
TIP – This is especially useful if you have a run or something to train for and there is a deadline in the race itself.
#3 – Create habits
Fitness doesn’t have to be difficult – you could simply add small habits to your daily routine that can make all the difference:-
- Walk as much as you can
- Play outside with your children rather than watching them play
- Exercise while cleaning – put some music on and get moving!
- Stand as often as you can (while on the phone for example)
- Do some exercises when you watch TV
All these things are pretty easy to fit into anyones day – so you don’t have the excuse of not having the time. Ever bit you can do really will make a difference.
#4 – Tell people what you are doing
If you want to improve your fitness then how about setting a target and telling people about it – that way you will stay on track – what about a charity run (race for life for example has 5K and 10K runs all over the country and it has a great atmosphere so will more than likely get you hooked!)
#5 – Get others involved
Love running but finding the motivation is waning?
Why not get a running friend as this will make each run more fun, and also give you the motivation to get out when its cold etc… as you wouldn’t want to let them down.
TIP – It’s great to catch up with friends over a coffee – so why not grab a takeout coffee and walk while you catch up
Joining a team is also a great way to get your enthusiasm going – again as you won’t want to let people down – and you can build your social life up as well – bonus!
#6 Stay motivated
Nothing makes it easier to continue with a goal than having motivation and energy for it, so my advice would be to start doing whichever of the following ideas helps you most:-
- If you are competitive, then record your fitness (how long you ran for, what distance you swam, how many calories burnt, what weights lifted etc….) and try and improve week on week – you can buy things like Fitbit** or use a tracker such as fitness pal to make this much more easy – and when you see how far you have come over the weeks/months you will be spurred on even more.
- If you like rewards – then place a reward on each goal – once you have achieved that goal the reward will be well earnt! (a night out, a massage, a holiday etc….)
- If you are a visual person – visualise yourself on a beach in your swimsuit looking fit and toned – if you can, add a picture of that beach somewhere where you will see it each day, that will remind you of this.
- If you are social – get a friend to do the same fitness as you – a weekly run, a fitness class, a game of tennis etc…. will all be more difficult to not do if you are letting someone down
- If your mood is changed by the weather, make that work for you. Raining? This is a great time to run as it’s cooler, or if it’s sunny why not find an outdoor pool to cool down?
#7 Vary things
Whatever you are doing, change it around every 6-8 weeks.
This helps in a few ways:-
Firstly you will get more out of it if you keep your body guessing and not getting used to a certain exercise etc… You will get fitter more quickly, and you will be less likely to reach a plateau which is a common time for people to give up as they don’t think they are making progress.
Secondly, you will use different muscles for different exercises, so will be toning up everywhere rather than just one part of your body for instance.
Thirdly – it will help boredom to not settle in. Once you get stuck in a rut it’s all too easy to stop doing your exercise completely – and when you start to find it easier as you get fitter it’s easy to get bored with what you are doing.
Why not try changing the type of exercise you do – running, swimming, walking, squash, tennis, aerobics, yoga – the list really is endless – and even things like playing with your children and housework count if you do them energetically. If you can, try and add different types of fitness into each week – that way you will stay energised and not get bored of the routine – often the reason that people stop exercising.
Generally making fitness a part of your every day life can make so much difference to you – both physically and emotionally – and it needn’t be hard.
Getting started, and making your fitness a priority in life is a conscious decision only you can make – but boy is it worth it.
Add in simple habits to make more of what you are already doing, work fitness into your schedule/budget/ability etc…. and stay motivated by involving others, tracking progress and rewarding yourself – and before long you will be fitter than you’ve ever been!
You will find that you have so much more energy in your day to day life so that everything benefits – and you will feel less stressed and more relaxed too – basically why wouldn’t you want to get fit now!!
Do you have a fitness routine at the moment?
If you’re struggling to fit it into your busy schedule, then you should hopefully have found a few ideas to make it a bit easier in this article. Good luck – and remember – it’s always worthwhile to get fit – not just for your physical health, but your mental health as well.
It SHOULD be a priority – not an afterthought or something you only do if you have spare time – so treat it as such – and ENJOY!