Monday, January 11, 2010

Top Three Tips for achieving your Exercise New Year's Resolution

I returned to my high school sport of long distance running after years of stop and go exercise attempts.

Here are three tips for fellow females who are returning to exercise.

1. Do it for yourself. There are many reasons to get active, but the best chance you have to add the label 'healthy body' to your self image is to commit to exercising for yourself, instead of for your family or a spouse. Women are so used to saying yes to everyone else, make exercise a way to say yes to yourself.

2. Set measurable objectives in addition to long term goals. Don't confuse objectives with goals. Your long term goal can be general, like "eat healthful foods and become strong enough to complete daily activities and hobbies with ease," but your weekly and monthly objectives have to be specific and measurable. For instance, my goal is to have a strong, fit body that can run 13 miles and my objective is to run 20 miles this week and complete 3 hours of crosstraining. Adding up weeks and months of achieving your objectives will enable you to achieve your goals.

3. Pick an exercise that you can enjoy for a lifetime. Think of exercise as a new hobby and a part of who you are, not a grueling form of torture (unless you like torture). Do you enjoy golf? Focus your exercise on making you a more effective golf player through weights and cardiovascular exercise. Like cycling? Sign up for a 25 or 50 mile bike ride for charity and exercise by completing a strength and endurance training schedule leading up to your ride. Is dancing your passion? Enroll in a dance class to improve your skills.

I loved running in high school, so in January 2009 I chose to start training for charity 5K races. Completing each race gave me the motivation to try for longer distances, and I worked my way up to a half marathon. The pressure to 'win' every race is off of you when you compete as an adult, so let go of that pressure and enjoy your new identity as an athlete!

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