3 Exercise resolutions that can lead to success

Want to stick with your resolutions this year? Make your goals specific and realistic.

For many of us, New Year’s resolutions include exercising more or losing weight, but by the time February rolls around that plan has gone out the window.

Part of the reason we fall off the resolution bandwagon is because our goals are too general or impractical, and we don’t plan how we’re going to achieve these objectives.

With that in mind, here are some suggestions that could help you beat the odds and achieve long-term success this New Year.

Looking to get active and lose weight? Improve your sleeping habits first

When people think of ways to lose weight, the first two things that come to mind are usually new exercise routines and fad diets. But what if it didn’t have to be so complicated?

To help manage your weight, first resolve to fix your sleeping habits. Improving sleep routines and getting enough restful sleep each night are critical to making healthy food choices, staying active and keeping off excess weight.

Sleep medicine researchers at Harvard have identified a variety of habits known as “sleep hygiene” that can improve a person’s ability to fall and stay asleep. These include developing a series of healthy sleep routines including: maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, avoiding screen time for at least 30 minutes before going to bed, establishing a relaxing bedtime routine and avoiding chemicals that can interfere with sleep, such as caffeine, nicotine and alcohol, too close to bedtime.

Commit to moving more by doing activities you enjoy

Besides refining your sleep hygiene, nothing will have a more transformative effect on your life than exercise. Regular exercise offers an endless list of physical and mental benefits. Exercise is medicine and is integral in the prevention and treatment of many medical conditions.

The Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines recommend that adults age 18 to 64 accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise each week, in bouts of 10 minutes or more. It’s also important to add in strength training at least twice a week.

It’s well known that increased physical activity provides greater health benefits, but the key is figuring out what you enjoy doing so you can stick with it.

Purchasing a gym membership does not immediately lead to improved fitness or health, particularly if it feels like a chore. Investing in personal training sessions, joining a ball hockey team or learning a new activity like rock climbing can result in better long-term exercise consistency and compliance.

Take more breaks!

Making sure to manage your workload by taking the appropriate time to relax will ensure you’re more productive and happier this coming year.

Our bodies send us signals to rest and renew, but we often try to override these with coffee, energy drinks, sugar or willpower. However, there is a limit to human capabilities, and working longer hours doesn’t necessarily mean greater productivity. Without downtime to refresh and recharge, we’re less efficient and our overall happiness is impacted.

While there are varying recommendations for how much downtime a person should have, there’s a consensus that it’s beneficial to purposely take short breaks throughout the day to engage in healthy behaviors such as drinking water, walking or eating a healthy snack.

Committing to regularly engage in healthy and enjoyable behaviors with family and friends will help you stick with your resolutions and make 2019 your happiest and healthiest year yet!

If you’re looking for additional support with your New Year’s exercise resolution, speak with your Copeman kinesiologist or book a session with one of our personal trainers.