How to Play To Your Strengths in Fitness: 5 Tips
I have a friend whose idea of fun isn’t sitting in a spa getting her nails and hair done but hopping on her bike and pumping out 20 miles by pedaling, even in high winds. (Sometimes, I believe, especially DURING high winds!) She also teaches workout courses, runs and swims, and lifts weights on a regular basis.
I have another friend who has confessed she’d rather go to the dentist than get up and walk or jog in the morning. Her interest in exercise: less than nil. Which, she states, is exactly why she starts one program, drops it after a few weeks (or, in some cases, days) and then, a bit later, starts another. She’s done a variety of things to stay fit, from Curves to Zumba to Jazzercise. Each she has dropped after a few weeks.
These two friends have totally opposite ideas about exercise. One loves it, the other hates it. For my first friend, physical endeavors come easily. Even her past times, which include jumping at a trampoline place nearby, are physical feats.
My other friend, though, would never exercise if it didn’t have a positive impact on her health.
I feel I fall somewhere between my two friends. While I love to exercise, especially to run, some mornings I really wish I could be doing something else, like sleeping in or drinking more coffee while watching the news. I find if I don’t get it done in the morning, I can more easily think of excuses later in the day to avoid it altogether. If I say I’ll do yoga in the evening, I don’t do yoga in the evening because by then I’m too tired. I love to run; I just need to do it on my own terms (early, in other words!).
The fact that running comes easily to me is likely the reason I've kept it up for all of these years, and this is likely the case for many runners. I believe the key is to play to our strengths when it comes to fitness. Figure out what works for you and do it. So with that in mind, here are 5 tips to get you moving in the right direction:
- Create a list. Write down a list of exercises or activities that you enjoy that will keep you committed to being active and use that to create a weekly plan.
- Start small. If you attempt a very full work-out schedule starting from a point when you never exercised, it will seem overwhelming, so start with one or two days a week for 20 minutes each and build from there each week.
- Celebrate small victories. We often give ourselves grief and guilt over not sticking to a routine, the key is to celebrate each day we do get up and start moving.
- Add variety. Using the list that you created be certain that your weekly plan is diversified if you get bored easily. This will give you the best opportunity for success.
- Buddy up with a like-minded friend. Find a friend who has a similar approach to exercising but who is just as committed to getting moving. If they love to run, then set a schedule to run together. If your friend wants to be active, but needs variety, create your list together and weekly plan to include activities with one another. By having a workout buddy included with some of your exercising plans, you are more likely to stay committed.
Regardless of how you feel about exercising, it’s something that we all must strive to get into our regular routines to stay healthy for the long-term. Being sedentary leads to health complications, so start chipping away at new goals based on what works for your personality. Be realistic, start small and you can make it happen.
What kind of exercise do you enjoy? Do you need variety or is there one primary exercise that is fitting for you? What tips would you add to this list for tackling fitness goals?