New Years Resolutions: Set a Fitness Goal
Are you setting a New Year’s Resolution? If you are like many Americans who set one last year, you are planning to exercise more.
Choosing to exercise more is the easy part, the next step is to decide what you are going to do to achieve that goal and stick to it! The best advice from experts is to set an exercise goal and write it down!
ON THE MOVE has online resources to help you reach your exercise goal. Check out a variety of links to eat healthy and get moving in the new year!
The key is to define a gradual set of fitness goals that build on one another to help you reach your bigger dream. So break the big goal into smaller, realistic goals which will help you both mentally and physically. It will help you improve your fitness level gradually and safely...and it will help you build confidence!
Write down your goal and post it somewhere as a reminder…the bathroom mirror, the refrigerator door, your computer screen, anywhere that will remind you to get moving that day!
There are six characteristics of effective goals. Let’s look at each of these.
CHALLENGING: Look at where you are today and push to extend yourself somewhat beyond where you are. Identify a goal that is within your present capabilities.
ATTAINABLE: Plan to take small and progressive steps; don’t go from being a couch potato to running a marathon. And consider how long you’ll want to exercise. Your vision might be to do 60 minutes a day, but you may only have time for 30 minutes a day.
Note that the U.S. Surgeon General recommends at least 150 minutes of exercise a week for adults.
SPECIFIC: Define specifically what you want to be able to do and the time frame you want to do it. For example: I will walk on 6 days of the week outdoors when it’s nice or I will do an online walking video if it is cold and keep a daily record. ON THE MOVE offers one mile walking videos and hand weight routines at barnesonthemove.org.
TIME-LIMITED: Are you making a general long-term goal such as stated above?
Or are you targeting a larger goal, such as to run a 5k in the spring? Then you will need to identify some short or intermediate goals to help you reach your longer-term goal.
POSITIVE: Think positive, be positive and frame your goal in a positive way.
FLEXIBLE: Sometimes ‘life happens’ and you won’t be able to meet your goal due to unexpected conflicts or special occasions. Remember, meeting your goals is 90% attitude. You might consider ‘making up’ the time you missed on another day, and sometimes, you may just have to miss a day of exercise from time to time.
So the big question may be WHY do we want to exercise? Regular exercise is important for everyone. Exercise reduces stress and anxiety. Exercise is a proven mood booster and can help adults reduce stress levels, improve self-esteem and build emotional resilience.
Most cardiac events occur in men over the age of 55 and in women over the age of 65. Preventing heart attacks, along with cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes are certainly major motivators to get moving...and setting a fitness goal can help each of us be more active and healthy!
Check out the ON THE MOVE classes and resources available to help you get physically active this winter and meet your fitness goals for 2022!
Happy New Year!
Andrea Winter is a licensed registered dietitian and ON THE MOVE Coordinator and the WIC Director at City County Health District.