Many people have had the experience of starting workout programmes in the hope of regular exercise and fitness becoming a way of life within weeks. Only it invariably ends up down the drain a few weeks later - indeed, some clubs make most of their money by signing people up on year-long contracts in January, knowing full well that by February they will have quit. So how do you stick to a programme of regular exercise?
Firstly, it helps to understand the benefits of regular exercise.
When you start a programme, allow four to six weeks to see significant changes - if you are erratic, or quit after a couple of weeks, you'll never get the motivation of seeing positive results.
Additionally, working out sporadically increases you chances of injury, and for those looking to lose weight, doesn't allow your body the time to adapt to a new regime. Regular exercise will re-set your metabolism, literally allowing your body to burn more calories 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
There are certain things you can do to help you stick with a programme:
- Make your workouts fun :
Read, listen to music or watch TV while riding a stationary bicycle, for example. Or choose things you like to do, like going for a walk, taking a dance class or learning to play tennis.
- Find a workout a partner :
It's more fun to workout with a friend.
- Vary your routine :
You will less likely to get bored or injured if you change your routine. Walk one day, bike the next, and don't forget to add in activities like dancing and racquet sports.
- Find the right time of day :
Some people are more active in the morning, others are night owls.
- Be patient :
It can take weeks or months before you notice some of the changes from your workout.
- Forget "no pain, no gain." :
While a little stiffness is normal after you first start a programme, pain isn't. Stop if you hurt.
- Other things :
There are hundreds of other things you can do to make it work - the key is to come up with a programme that you can stick to in the long term.