How to Spring Back Into Shape

Couple Running

Committing to a workout regimen at the beginning of the year may have seemed like a good idea at the time, but four months in, most of us have already lost steam. According to Jamy Ard, M.D., associate professor of epidemiology and prevention, and co-director of the Weight Management Center at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, that’s because many of us set the bar too high. 

“The point isn’t to become a marathoner in one exercise session or return to your high school athletic glory days all at once,” Ard said. “The point is to get over the inertia that has taken root in your self-motivation world and remind yourself of why you value being active.”

Feeling pressure to meet a pre-conceived idea about what exercise is can hold you back from doing anything at all, he said. The key to success is to find the best workout for you.

“Physical activity not only needs to be simple and structured enough to meet your lifestyle demands,” Ard said, “but also enjoyable enough for you to look forward to it.”

Ard provides the following tips to help you get back on the exercise track:

  • Find something you enjoy doing. If the gym membership isn’t working for you, don’t be afraid to drop it. Invest that money in a good pair of shoes and start a walking program or join a running group.
  • Start slow. Devise the simplest plan you can think of. It could be a 10-minute walk at work or a quick loop around the block. Your plan should almost be so simple that it would be nearly impossible to come up with a good excuse not to do it.
  • Keep challenging yourself. Add a little bit to your routine on a regular basis. If you move more today than you did yesterday, then you’re headed in the right direction.

“Seeing positive change can be extremely reinforcing, no matter how small,” Ard said. “And maybe that will be enough to get you springing back sooner rather than later.”

 

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Last Updated: 04-11-2014
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