As the New Year draws close, many of us are making mental notes about what we didn’t achieve this year and what we want to achieve in 2021. That mental list often involves getting fitter and improving our health including often dropping a few kilograms.
So, as you are drawing up this list there are three things you should consider.
Firstly, know and understand why exercise is good for you so when you are feeling demotivated your ‘why’ can kick in and keep you going.
Secondly, set goals that you know you can achieve. This will give you positive reinforcement to keep going.
Thirdly, follow the 10% rule.
Tip 1. Why is exercise good for you?
There are many benefits to regular exercise that you may not have considered. Knowing these may help motivate you, keep on track.
- Slow the ‘ageing’ process
- Increase your strength, power and endurance so you can keep doing what you want and need to do
- Change your body composition; decreasing fat and increasing your muscle mass
- Increase your well-being and happiness
- Enhance brain health and your ability to think clearly
- Improve your sleep quality
Exercise is medicine and is one of the best ‘drugs’ available, as it:
- Helps you maintain a healthy weight
- Lowers your blood pressure
- Increases life expectancy
- Protects against many diseases such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke to name a few.
Tip 2. To be successful, know your limits and set small achievable daily goals
Setting small and achievable goals is key to keeping the habit of regular exercise. There will be times when you just can’t or don’t want to exercise. It’s important to set goals that you can achieve even in the busiest and most time poor of weeks. We call this setting the ‘minimum viable exercise’ (MVE). When you are consistently able to achieve your MVE goal, you will feel sense of accomplishment and this will set you up for a healthy habit that can last a lifetime.
Examples of an MVE goal might be to walk or run twice a week for 20 minutes. This may not be what you would first choose as your goal. It’s far more tempting to set a goal of walking and running 5 times a week for 30 minutes. However, if you set a MVE goal that you know you can achieve most of the time, then you will feel a sense of success when you achieve the goal and you will be far more likely to keep going with your exercise routine.
Tip 3. The 10% rule
Injuries occur when people overload their bodies and do too much exercise too soon. This is particularly relevant as we grow older – about 45 years and over. Young people cope with big changes in loading of their bodies, because their muscles, joints and ligaments are more flexible and heal quickly. With age our flexibility decreases and the ability of our muscles and tissues to adapt to different stresses and loading declines. They can adapt – they just need more time as we grow older.
The 10% rule is a good guide to help you know how to increase your exercise and reduce your likelihood of overuse and overloading injuries.
The 10 % rule states that you increase your exercise loading by no more than 10% a week. This way you are far more likely to be injury free and actually achieve your goals.
Hope this helps, Deb