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You’ve Set Your Resolution. Next Step? Action.

Forty-five percent of Americans make New Year’s Resolutions each year. Only 25 percent of those who make resolutions successfully carry their resolutions past the first week of January. A mere eight percent are successful in achieving their goals.

A large percentage (about 38 percent) of New Year’s Resolutions made each year are related to weight and fitness. In some cases, failure to achieve those resolutions could hold negative health consequences.

What is it that holds us back from achieving the resolutions we make? What can we do to ensure the resolutions we make will be more than an unattainable goal, but a reality?

Cooper Fitness Center Group Exercise Director, Scotty Esquibel explains seven tips for making (and keeping) your New Year’s health and fitness resolutions.

  1. Pick a date and commit to start. Even if you are getting a late start on your New Year’s Resolution, what’s most important is that you pick a date and commit. Put it on paper. Tell a friend. Then start ramping up to begin. If your resolution is to run a marathon in 2014, take some time before the end of the year to purchase a new pair of running shoes and select your training plan.
  2. Set attainable goals. Your resolution shouldn’t be unreasonable; instead, it should include a step-by-step plan. For example, if you want to take up running in the new year, but are currently a couch potato, it’s wise to start with a walking program before beginning to run. Achieving your fitness goals should also be attained through activity you enjoy. If you are new to fitness, experiment with different fitness programs until you find activities you enjoy because those are the things you’ll want to do. People are more likely to follow through with a workout, if it’s an activity they enjoy.
  3. Take it seriously. Treat your fitness program like a doctor’s appointment. If you wouldn’t cancel a doctor’s appointment, why would you cancel your workout? Fitness is directly linked to your health. Fit people are more likely to be healthy. Treat your fitness resolution with upmost importance. If you need to, mark each training session on your calendar as an appointment with “Dr. Fitness”.
  4. Fill up your tank before you begin. Before you start working out, it’s important to make sure you are fueled up for your fitness program. Make sure you are eating properly. One reason many people are not successful with their fitness program is because they aren’t properly fueling their body. If you aren’t eating properly, you won’t have the energy you need to enjoy and complete your workout.
  5. Mix it up. Don’t stick with just one thing. For overall enjoyment and benefit, do a variety of activities; after all, variety is the spice of life! Choose some kind of cardiovascular exercise and some kind of strength exercise. There are five components of physical fitness: cardiovascular fitness level, muscular endurance, muscular strength, flexibility and body composition. The healthiest fitness program contains more than one of these five elements.
  6. Get an understanding of the “paradoxes of fitness.” Fitness doesn’t always make sense. For example, the more energy you expend working out, the more energy you’ll have, but if you try to conserve energy, you’ll end up losing energy. This is why couch potatoes are not energetic people. People who are active have more energy. If you want to gain energy, you have to expend it. If you conserve it, you lose it. Keep in mind that recovery is not the same as conserving energy; if you are training five or six days a week, that one or two days of recovery are a vital component of your overall fitness program.
  7. Find a trainer and dietitian to help you reach your goals. The more information you have, the more tools you’ll have to be fit and make better, healthier choices. Call on people who are experts to help you achieve your resolution. If you don’t know how to plan your meals, or how much food you need to eat, talk to a nutritionist or dietitian. Choose a personal trainer to help you define your fitness goals and develop a plan for achieving those goals. There are so many great resources available, there’s really no excuse not to call on experts for help.

Making and achieving your health and fitness goals allows you to “square off the curve,” as Dr. Cooper says. In other words, as you age, you don’t have to gradually decline into old age and unhealthy years. By resolving to maintain a lifestyle of health and fitness, you can live a healthy life your entire life.

To learn more about how Cooper Aerobics can help with your 2014 goals, visit cooperaerobics.com.

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