Now that beach season is upon us, plenty of people are thinking about picking up another shape-up routine.
Starting an exercise program -- and sticking with it -- is all about recognizing your own style.
Some people never talk about starting an exercise routine because they've never stopped moving. They consider exercise as part of their daily routine. They might miss a session every now and then, but they're not trying to be perfect. They're focusing on a good average to be active today, tomorrow and forever.
Who are they? Maybe the lone runner or walker you seem to pass every day, or the person who is at the gym every time you are there. Or maybe it's the tennis player you regularly see at your neighborhood courts.
Here are ideas on adopting the attitudes and behaviors of consistent exercisers:
Choose activities you like. Recognize that you can change your mind whenever you like. You can do the same thing every day until you're tired of it, or you can do something different every day of the week. Over a lifetime, you'll go through changes that will require you to change things. Be ready to roll with what life brings you.
Train your brain to think realistically. Perfectionism doesn't work if your goal is to be active, long-term. Strive for a good average rather than a perfect score. For example, if you're strapped for time, do part of your workout instead of skipping it entirely.
Develop the art of not giving up. Imagine yourself staying active throughout your life. Realize that life has its challenges, but you can figure out solutions to problems, rather than give up.
Choose incentives that make sense. A lifetime of healthful exercise requires short- and long-term goals. Training for a race is good, but if that's your only goal, it's likely that you won't have an incentive to keep moving after the race. Instead, choose a meaningful long-term goal, such as "I want to stay active so that I can stay independent in my older years."
Don't make losing weight your primary goal. This is the most common reason people start an exercise program, but it doesn't work long-term. Include weight management on your list of reasons to exercise, but put health and happiness at the top.