January might be coming to a close, but now is a great time to make health and fitness resolutions for you and your family. Want to exercise more, lose a few pounds or train for a 5K?
We all start the year with good intentions, but if you’re like 80 percent of us, you’re likely to abandon your goals by March. Jennifer Nelson, vice president of communications with the Triangle YMCA, offers some tips for keeping those healthy resolutions all year long.
Set measurable, achievable goals. Will you exercise a certain number of days each week? Define what success will look like. Clear, defined goals are easier to pursue, and you can easily determine if you’ve achieved success. If you haven’t been exercising regularly, start slow and aim for consistency. Once you’ve met your goal, celebrate and build on your success.
Consult an expert. Don’t know where to start on your wellness journey? You don’t have to go it alone. A personal trainer can help you craft a plan just for you and ensure that you stay on track. Many gyms have trained staff to help you achieve success. At the YMCA, free fitness consultations can help members get acquainted with unfamiliar equipment and explore workout options.
Find a buddy. Creating an accountability system can be a powerful tool. Find a buddy to join your workout, or sign up for a race with a friend who will train with you. A good way to make physical activity fun is to involve the whole family. How about a weekend hike or an afternoon playing in the pool?
Make it easy. Change your environment to make it easier to uphold your resolution. For example, if your goal is to eat better, ditch the chips and stock up on healthy snacks like cut veggies, nuts and dried fruit. If you want to squeeze in more activity, stash a pair of sneakers at the office for a lunchtime stroll.
Have fun. Experts say the best exercise is one you enjoy doing enough so you’ll stick with it. For some people, that might be yoga or tai chi. Others might like to mix it up, say with walking, cycling and a line-dancing class at the community center. If you haven’t found that perfect combination, joining a gym like the YMCA is a good way to try a variety of activities – from basketball to Zumba.
And even if your healthy resolutions stall at some point this year, don’t get discouraged. There’s no reason that you can’t set more fitness goals in March.