Each January, millions of Americans resolve to get back in shape, lose weight or just be healthier. While it’s an easy resolution to make, it can be tough to go from a couch potato to a gym rat. There are plenty of reasons why resolutions might fail, but the biggest factor is whether you choose a resolution that you can achieve. Even if you’re just looking to stick to your new goal for only a month to get rid of those extra holiday pounds, it’s important to choose an activity you enjoy and can do safely. If it’s been a while since you’ve put on your running shoes, don’t let an early injury sideline you for the rest of 2013. Here are a few tips to make sure your fitness goals continue strong into the year.
Find an Activity You Enjoy
It’s easy to make a resolution to run 10 miles each week, but if you completely hate running then there’s a high likelihood that your resolution won’t make it to the finish line. Instead of narrowly defining your goals, say that you want to do at least 30 minutes of exercise each day. Try the gym or the pool, or even a long walk around the block with Fido. Take a yoga or a Zumba class. Or break out your bike from the garage. Just make sure that you don’t get locked into something that you won’t enjoy.
Don’t Push Too Hard
Even world-class athletes get injured or strained from their exertions, and you won’t be any different. It’s important to know your limits and to slowly work up your goals. Remember to have reasonable expectations as you begin a new fitness routine. Don’t get disheartened if you wanted to run 3 miles on your first run but could only make it 1 mile through the neighborhood – that’s 1 mile further than you did yesterday. There are a number of programs like Couch to 5k or One Hundred Pushups that will give you a training guide to build your strength and stamina to reach a goal.
Unfortunately, there are other dangers to solo fitness than sprains or pulled muscles. When running, biking or working out in the gym, accidents can happen, and it’s important to be prepared in the case of an emergency. Companies like Hope Paige offer emergency identification products like the TextID that let any emergency personnel text the number on your bracelet and receive emergency contact information, health records and find information about any chronic conditions you may have. When working out alone, an ID system like this can be a life-saving item in the case of an accident or emergency.
This is one of the most important aspects of any new fitness routine, since many new athletes are not used to drinking a lot of water or mistake their thirst for hunger. Hydration is key to successful exercise and weight loss, and switching to water from sugary drinks can help improve your workout effect, since you’ll be cutting out hundreds of calories each day.
Bring a Friend
Once you’ve started a New Year’s fitness program, it can be easy to let it fall by the wayside as everyday life begins to distract you from your wellness goals. Making a joint resolution with a friend is a great way to increase your chances of success and to add a level of safety to your workouts. Since New Year’s is basically the closest thing to Black Friday that gyms can offer, you can find plenty of gyms that offer deals for memberships with a friend or family member. If you want to make sure your resolution sticks this year, share it with a friend.