As the year draws to a close, now is the time to start thinking about which New Year’s Resolutions you want to tackle. For many people, that list includes starting-- and sticking to -- a regular exercise routine. But since 80 percent of New Year’s Resolutions are never reached, how can you go about making sure that this year is different?
Here are some tips to help ensure that your resolutions are among the 20 percent that are followed through with in 2017.
Creating Achievable Fitness Goals
While there are many possible reasons why the majority of resolutions fail, perhaps the biggest reason is because we don’t pay enough attention to whether or not the goals are realistically achievable. The same goes for your fitness goals.
But don’t get discouraged! The National Institutes of Health outlines the following steps to help seniors create realistic fitness goals:
- Identify your current fitness level. To get started, create an activity log to keep track of how many hours you are active or sedentary over the course of seven days. The most efficient way to do this is with a wearable fitness band. It’s important to know your starting point because you only increase your risk of injury if you try to do an exercise routine that is above your current fitness level.
- Create short-term goals. The purpose of short-term goals is making physical activity a regular part of your daily routine. List out the things you will need to do in order to get physically active, such as researching exercise classes in your area or thinking about exercises you’d like to try.
- Create long-term goals. While short-term goals focus on the day-to-day progress, long-term goals allow you to focus on where you want to be 6 months, or even a year, from now. The key with long-term goals is determining how much time a week you want to dedicate to your exercise routine rather than a certain distance or speed you want to achieve.
- Constantly update your goals. Review your goals to continuously build on your success. Or, if you’re having trouble reaching a goal, be open to altering it before you choose to give up.
- Write it down. Start an exercise journal, and detail your exercise routine. Outline which exercises you want to do, why you picked them along with when and where you will do them. Remember: the more specific your goals are, the better!
Your Next Steps
Once you outline the fitness goals you want to achieve, the next step is giving yourself access to the tools you’ll need on your journey to living a healthier lifestyle. After all, in order to be successful, you have to set yourself up for success! Here are five key ingredients in achieving your fitness goals:
- Work with a personal trainer. Not only will working with a personal trainer increase your chances of reaching your fitness goals, but they can also help you create an appropriate exercise routine based on your abilities without increasing your risk of experiencing an injury. The key is finding a personal trainer that’s right for you. To get started, look at your local gym or community center for recommendations, and ask prospective trainers about their experience working with seniors. Since the quality of your relationship with your trainer affects how dedicated you are to your exercise routine, it’s essential that you take the time to find someone who is qualified, honest and positive.
- Enlist a friend. Similar to working with a personal trainer, exercising with a friend adds a social component to your workout. Plus, bringing a friend to your personal trainer could cut the cost by half! Whether you and your friend decide to work out with a trainer or by yourselves, it’s a simple way to stay motivated to your exercise routine and promote each other’s health.
- Use a fitness band. If you’re looking for a more cost-effective way to track your activity levels, a fitness band is the perfect option. Whether you want a fitness band that tracks your sleep, heart rate and even your calories or one that simply tracks your steps, there is a device out there that will fit your personal preferences.
- Find the right shoe. Especially if you made daily walks or jogs one of your fitness goals, you’re going to need a pair of high-quality shoes. Although bargain shoes cut the cost, they lack the support your feet need and will only result in heel and joint pain. That’s why when it comes to finding the best walking shoes for seniors, your best bet is going to a specialty running store like Sports Authority or Runner’s Edge and having an associate measure your feet to find the perfect fit.
- Make safety your top priority. It can be easy to have tunnel vision when we become so motivated to achieve our fitness goals, but you have to put your personal safety first. Even if you’re doing your exercise routine at the gym with a personal trainer or with a friend, accidents can unfortunately still happen.
Although this is a scary reality, you don’t have to let this fear hold you back from exercising as long as you guarantee your safety with a Mobile Guardian medical alert device. Small enough to fit inside your gym bag or pocket, this tiny device gives you access to immediate help 24/7.