You have decided to improve your physical fitness. You set the goal to increase physical activity. Now you need to devise a plan to incorporate exercise into your lifestyle. This is step three (refer to posting Getting into Action: Part One...
). Your objective here is to not only make exercise a priority, but a ritual.
To make exercise part of your everyday routine, you need to identify suitable times during the day for you to exercise. Dawn of Northville, Michigan has done this. "I am a morning person, so I like to get going with my workout first thing...It is a great sense of accomplishment to start my day with a good workout", says Dawn.
Once a time slot is identified, schedule your exercise session as you would a doctor's appointment. Entering the exercise time into your calendar helps to ensure that you will stick to your commitment to improve physical fitness. Dawn uses a similar method to avoid time conflicts. "I do try to schedule commitments in the afternoon so I can get my workout in", remarks Dawn. Because daily life does involve the unexpected, it is advantageous to select at least two different times during the day that exercise can fit into your schedule. This will provide you with an alternative if you can't exercise at your scheduled time.
Step four of your exercise plan is to identify the specific barriers to exercise that you face and then develop a plan to overcome these obstacles. Virginia of South Portland, Maine has devised a plan to overcome one of her barriers. She is a mother of a 4 year-old and her husband works long hours, making it a challenge to exercise. To overcome this obstacle, she has made allowances in her budget for a babysitter while she exercises.
Develop plans in advance for special occasions such as vacations and holidays that may interfere with your regular exercise routine. Write a list of options for fitting in exercise during these times. Even if it means shortening the duration of your workout or opting for a different form of exercise. For example, if you know that you will be traveling out of town, find a hotel that has an exercise room. If such facilities are not available, then look for a park, mall, or downtown area where you could walk for exercise. Being prepared for these occasions before they occur will help to keep the interruption temporary and not a permanent end to your exercise efforts.
The exercise plan should help eliminate the feeling of being overwhelmed when initiating an exercise program. Re-evaluate your plan after six weeks of program initiation. At this time, make a list of new goals, strategies to achieve those goals and methods to overcome new barriers to exercise encountered along the way. Repeat this process every three months thereafter.
*Recommended reading: ACSM Fitness Book: A Proven Step by Step Program from the Experts, Third Edition
Note: A physician's approval should be obtained prior to beginning an exercise program, especially for older adults and those at risk for or who currently have chronic health conditions.
Labels: exercise barriers, schedule exercise