As humans, we are routine by nature. Many of us develop habits and routines, from waking up at the same time each morning to eating the same meals to doing the same activities with the same people. While starting a new exercise routine may seem intimidating, it makes sense that it would be easy to integrate into our “Routine” with just a few simple steps! Here are some tips to help you change things up a bit and make your fitness routine or therapy home exercise program something you can do consistently:
1. Evaluate your schedule- take a look at your day-to-day routine and decide when is going to be the best spot to insert a new activity. Are you going to get up 30 minutes earlier to fit in a quick morning workout at home? Do you need to allot extra time after work to go to the gym? Plan to finish dinner earlier for a walk with the dog?
2. Plan- WHAT is it that you will be doing? Going on a 20 minute walk, swimming, biking, lifting weights, walking your dog, completing your therapy exercises…there are endless possibilities to staying active! Have a plan of what you will be doing for your exercise time.
3. Be prepared to sacrifice, and prepare mentally!- Change is always hard. For example, if your goal is to wake up earlier in the mornings to exercise, there may be some mornings that you are tired or don’t feel like doing it. Stay strong, and keep your goals in sight! You can do it!
4. Start small- You might consider making small changes and building up in time. For example, start by implementing an exercise routine 3 days per week. Once you have proven consistent with that, try to add to it by adding another activity on a different day!
5. Make a checklist or reward system- Sometimes it’s very rewarding to “cross something off the list” or “check a box”. Make a simple calendar or tracking system where you can write it or check off your activity goals once you complete them! This can also help keep yourself accountable. Also consider setting and goal and reward for yourself! For example, if your goal was to exercise 4 days per week for an entire month, you could reward yourself with a new water bottle or a treat at the end of the month for your successes.
Exercising can be fun, challenging, and rewarding! Invite a family member, friend, or colleague to participate with you and help keep each other motivated to meet your goals. Once you make it part of your normal routine, a new exercise program will seem like a breeze!