Perhaps you started the New Year with a new gym membership, a pair of cool looking running shoes or one of those very well reviewed fitness apps—all with the goal of getting fit this year. As January rolls along and the weather gets less inviting, it becomes harder and harder to get off the couch and actually keep one of the most important resolutions—getting more exercise into your life. To get some advice on staying the course, I turned to Dr. Jordan Metzl, a sports medicine doctor at New York’s Hospital for Special Surgery who has written five fitness books and is one of the most enthusiastic fitness advocates around.
We all know that exercise makes us healthier (both physically and emotionally) and that sitting for hours may actually kill you. Yet, it is still hard for most Americans to consistently add exercise to their daily or weekly schedules. Dr. Metzl suggests using these very simple approaches to help you stick with your fitness resolutions to get and stay healthy in 2019.
- Think outside the gym
Exercise can, of course, include a walk around the park or choosing to take the stairs instead of the elevator. But now, even those who want a serious, gym-worthy workout can get one at home. Peloton and numerous other companies have created apps and programs that recreate the group experience anywhere in the world. According to Dr. Metzl, having the convenience of working out anywhere, anytime, while still being part of a community is a great way to inspire participation.
- Exercise is not drudgery—you should be smiling
Dr. Metzl cites a recent study that found those who were laughing and smiling during their workouts stuck with them for longer. Find an upbeat group to run with or a fitness instructor that keeps you smiling. The yoga instructor at my gym with the most loyal following is the one who makes us laugh as we struggle through the poses.
- Reward yourself
People love to be rewarded. It seems easier to lose weight when you want to look good for your wedding, a high school reunion, or another major event. An incentive can help you stay motivated. Some companies may offer incentives, but the best ones may be personal. Why not reward yourself with a luxury Caribbean vacation or another special treat after six months of staying fit? You will look quite fabulous in a bathing suit.
- Give yourself a deadline and make it public
General goals are harder to achieve. Dr. Metzl suggests that you find a goal with a specific end date that you can work towards. We have all seen our less than fit colleagues somehow make it through a marathon. You don’t have to be that ambitious. But if you sign up for a 5K or even a bowling competition and tell everyone about it, you will much more likely to stick to a training schedule.
And for those who want to start now, Dr. Metzl has created an IronStrength workout for runners and triathletes, but that can also be used by anyone who want to get in shape.