By now, many New Year's fitness resolutions have likely been broken. But take heart, it's not too late to start over.
Brian Rider, a graduate assistant at the UT Center for Physical Activity and Health, noted that people who try to do too much too soon typically get injured or discouraged.
"Whatever your fitness goal, start slow," Rider said. "You want to develop new fitness habits for a lifetime, not just for January."
Rider offers these tips for maintaining fitness goals in the new year and beyond:
- Establish short-term goals first. Achieving short-term goals helps provide the continued confidence to work toward those long-term goals.
- Don't get discouraged. There will always be setbacks. Recognize obstacles and work to avoid them. If you're not a morning person, schedule workouts for lunch or later in the day. Find exercises and activities you enjoy and focus on those.
- Put your goals in writing and make them specific and measurable. Goals are tougher to ignore when they're in writing and placed where you see them daily.
- Don't wait until Monday. Too often, when people miss a workout or fall off their diet, they decide to wait until the start of the next week to get back on the wagon. That just allows for more days to fall behind. Start back up immediately and keep momentum moving forward.
- Find a workout buddy. Often it's easier to work out with a friend who can offer motivation—and accountability.
- Don't assume you need to set aside an hour or join a gym. The 2008 national physical activity guidelines recommend 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week. That can be accomplished in segments of as little as ten minutes of physical activity at a time throughout the course of the week. For those targeting weight loss as a goal, additional minutes are needed.