Starting a new fitness routine is exciting. You are heading toward a new goal, so you have all the enthusiasm and freshness of a new fitness convert. But then, life starts getting in the way. You stay at work late. You head out of town on vacation. Your kids have a game you need to attend in the evening. All of a sudden, keeping up with your fitness goals seems harder and harder. It’s far easier to skip the workout than to stay up that extra hour and get it done. So what should you do to ensure that you stay on track with your fitness goals? Read on to find out why consistency is key and how to stay on track.
So you have set your fitness goal, and you’re generally aware of the benefits of consistency in exercise. Great work! These are two of the biggest building blocks at the beginning of any fitness journey. One of the best ways to make consistency a part of your routine is to remind yourself of the benefits of consistency. Let’s dive into some of those a little bit more.
It should come as no surprise that a lot of people work out to control their weight. Americans, as a whole, are obsessed with their image, and the advent and flourishing of social media has only compounded society’s desire to look a certain way. I am all aboard the body positivity train, and I love that more and more influencers and celebrities have begun promoting a healthy weight image, but that does not stop the average American from wanting to control their weight. Weight control is not inherently bad. In fact, a physician may recommend weight control as a way to stave off diabetes or other health issues. Consistency in following your exercise routine will naturally lead to weight control. The more consistently you work out, the more your body adjusts to what calories it does or does not need to suffice. Naturally, your appetite will adjust, and you will, at the very least, control your weight, if not lose weight.
Combats Health Conditions and Disease
According to the Mayo Clinic, “Regular exercise helps prevent or manage many health problems and concerns, including:
- Metabolic syndrome
- High blood pressure
- Type 2 diabetes
- Many types of cancer
Consistency is key here as well. The older you get, the more likely you are to experience some of these health issues. Consistent exercise is a great way to combat health issues without having to take prescription medications, which can have side effects that make daily living harder. Due to my own BMI, my doctor recommended more regular exercise as a way to prevent pre-diabetes, and within a couple months I was out of the danger zone and experiencing all of the other benefits of consistent exercise!
I suffer from depression, and there are some days when it is really, terribly difficult to get out of bed. For a long time, I did not believe that consistent exercise could help with this issue, but boy was I wrong. It took time for my logical and emotional mind to catch up to one another, but regular exercise helped me to have a reason to get out of bed on dark days and something to look forward to when I get into a funk.
Even if you don’t suffer from a mood disorder the way I do, consistent exercise helps to boost the serotonin in your brain causing an overall improved mood. Additionally, achieving your milestones as you regularly work out reinforces the benefits of exercise and motivates you to continue working out. Even a 15 min walk after a meal can help you reset your mindset and put you in a better place. Also, if appearance is a part of your why for working out, the more consistently you work out, the more traction you will see on your changing appearance, which will also make you feel better!
The more consistently you exercise, the more you are building muscle mass, which translates to more energy in your everyday activities. Additionally, all that exercise is improving your endurance, which means you have more energy to tackle harder or longer tasks. After a few weeks of regular exercise you will likely notice that it’s easier to walk up and down stairs, carry the groceries in the house, or run to catch the bus or the train.
Don’t feel discouraged if you don’t see these improvements immediately. You might actually see the opposite in the very early stages. You’ll find yourself wiped out right after exercising and needing more sleep. That’s okay! It’s totally natural. These benefits come from consistent exercise and take some time to build up.
We’re all looking at screens every day, and that screen time is affecting our ability to sleep. Consistent exercise leads to better, more restful sleep. How? The more you exercise, the more you tire out your body, the faster you fall asleep, and the more your circadian rhythm is reinforced. The only thing you will want to avoid is working out right before bed as the endorphins from your workout will likely make sleep less possible for a couple hours.
Other Ways to Stay on Track
- Remember this is a marathon, not a sprint. You are aiming for consistency over time, not a big burst and then a burn out.
- Make a physical calendar or to do list or goal sheet so that you can mark off your accomplishments.
- Give yourself the 5s test: Will I be happy with this decision in 5 minutes? In 5 days? In 5 weeks? In 5 months?
- Find an accountability buddy to not only make working out more fun but also to make you motivated to do it more consistently.
- Think about your food choices, but don’t beat yourself up for splurging. What you eat is directly connected to the progress you are making on your fitness goals, but treating yourself now and then won’t bring the castle down.
- Find a positive affirmation that motivates you and post it in a place you’ll see it frequently.
- Mix it up when you are feeling the monotony. Have you tried Zoomba? Rock climbing? Gone bike riding since you were a kid?
- Use exercise as a time to meditate or check in with yourself.
- Pack your workout bag the night before or lay out your clothes before you go to sleep to take some of the thinking out of it.
- Above all else, remember that you ARE totally worth it and so are your goals. Be kind to yourself!
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