Sticking with exercise

Published: Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012 11:10 a.m. CDT

So, you’ve started an exercise program. You’ve been going to the gym faithfully — maybe you’ve even hired a personal trainer. You’re feeling pretty good about yourself.

But wait, you’ve been here before and “slipped” off the wagon. How do you make sure you stick with the program this time?

• Emphasize the long haul — The difference between the short, intense jump into beginning exercise and the long haul of maintaining a long-term lifestyle change is similar to the many efforts people have at weight loss. In the short term, many diets seem effective; however, in the long haul, the success rates are usually pretty minimal. The moral of the story? Look at the big picture. Really “getting into” exercise for a couple of months isn’t enough. You need to learn habits that will last a lifetime. Make sure your program includes flexibility and fun. If you enjoy working out, you’ll want to keep doing it.

• Reward yourself — If exercise always felt convenient, it would be its own reward. However, sometimes it’s inconvenient and even downright difficult. With the help of a trainer, devise a creative reinforcement system to pat yourself on the back for keeping up with your workouts. Take credit for the efforts you’re making and be proud of your progress.

• Solicit support — Let your friends and family members know their continued support means a lot to you. If you’re feeling your commitment slip, talk to a trainer about your needs and/or join a class.

• Stick with it — Successful exercisers slip along the way, but they don’t let one slip become a fall. If you miss an exercise session or a few due to life, pick up where you left off and get going. Our exercise programs need to be adaptable to our lives, and it’s important for us to understand that. Pick the time of day to exercise that best fits your life. You’ll be more apt to stick with it.

Need help getting started or restarting your exercise program? The Newton YMCA has personal trainers who can help you get started, refocus or rethink your program and get you back on the right track!

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