If you’ve resolved to make fitness a priority in 2019, you’re not alone! This is one of the most common resolutions to make—and for good reason. When we’re fit, we simply feel better! Now that we're well into the year, where are you at with your fitness?
For those over fifty, it’s more important than ever to make exercise a part of the daily routine. Why? As we age, we start losing muscle mass. Once we hit 50, we can start losing about a half pound of muscle mass every year. Strength training not only fights this loss, it can also add muscle, which improves mobility—and it’s been shown to help improve brainpower and reduce the risk of diabetes and osteoporosis. Over time we also tend to lose flexibility, which can greatly impact quality of life. Just five to ten minutes of stretching a day can lengthen and loosen muscles while improving balance and stability. And when it comes to cardiovascular workouts—there are countless reasons to get moving! Consistent cardio exercise has been linked to lower risks of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and more.
Bottom line: staying strong, flexible, and fit will play a huge part in how much you enjoy this next chapter in life. So what can you do to make sure those healthy resolutions stick this year? Here are five tips to help you stay on track and reach your wellness goals in 2019.
Start with Well-Defined Mini Goals
Setting fitness goals that are too lofty (“I will run a marathon.”) or too vague (“I will get in better shape.”) can make them nearly impossible to reach. Instead, create a short list of mini goals that are clear and achievable.
Here are a few examples of small, well-defined goals:
“I will meet with a personal trainer for strength training advice.”
“I will walk with my friend for 20 minutes, three days per week.”
“I will try one group fitness class per week at my community’s fitness center.”
When you’ve successfully met your mini goals, you may find that you’re ready to add some bigger and bolder goals to your list. But it’s better to start out slow than to burn out quickly.
Have Fun Getting Fit
One of the keys to making exercise a healthy habit is enjoying it. And there are countless ways to have fun getting fit at Trilogy. Love to dance? Get your groove on in a Zumba class. Want some fun in the sun? Try a water workout at the outdoor pool. Get bored easily? Take a Tabata class and you’ll be amazed at how fast the time flies. If you enjoy some friendly competition, get a great workout on the pickleball or tennis courts. The more you love what you’re doing, the more likely you are to keep doing it!
Make an Exercise Appointment
When you schedule a dentist appointment, a dinner date with friends, or a meeting with a client, you add it to your calendar and commit to it. If you do the same with exercise—plan for it and actually add it to your calendar—you’ll be more likely to keep your commitment. When you look at your weekly calendar and see the days and times that you’re planning to exercise, you can then schedule your other plans around these workout sessions.
While you may have every intention of sticking to your workout commitments, every now and then, life happens. If an unavoidable work meeting is scheduled during your favorite weekly group fitness class, have a simple backup plan—like a brisk walk on your lunch break—to keep you on track. If you’re under the weather and have to skip a few days of exercise, don’t see it as a failure. See it as listening to your body and taking care of yourself—then hop back into your fitness routine when you’re well again. Avoid having an all-or-nothing attitude about fitness. Instead, go with the flow and be flexible. Stick as closely as you can to your fitness schedule without stressing about it.
Understand Your “Why”
Committing to a fitness resolution is much easier if you have a good understanding of why you’re doing it. If you think you should exercise daily just to lose weight, that’s probably not going to be a strong enough “why” to keep you motivated. Instead, think of how feeling fit will affect your life, and shape your “why” around that thought.
“I want to get fit so that I can feel confident at my high school reunion.”
“I want to get fit so that I can have the energy to play my favorite sport again.”
“I want to get fit so that I can go outside and play with my grandkids.”
“I want to get fit so that I can book a walking tour in Europe.”
When you’re in great shape, you can say “yes” to all of the adventures that lie ahead of you in life—and that may be the most powerful “why” of all.