There is a lot of mixed messaging when it comes to the world of fitness, but one thing that most doctors and trainers can agree on is that a progressive approach to exercise with realistic and steady goals is the most effective way to make a fitness routine stick and avoid burnout. Here are three tips for adopting progressive fitness for long-term health and wellness.
Opt for personal growth, rather than benchmark milestones. When it comes to exercise, everyone comes to the table with different fitness levels. Rather than setting explicit exercise goals, like run a mile in under eight minutes or do 20 pushups, strive for goals that focus on surpassing your personal best. For example, rather than aiming to run five miles by the end of the month, set the goal to run for 10 minutes more each time you go jogging. This method acknowledges your progress from your personal starting place instead of your progress compared to those around you.
Focus on consistency. It’s easy to get swept up in a “go big or go home” mentality when you begin a new exercise regimen, but aiming for big reps right off the bat will leave you feeling dejected and can even result in injuries early on. Acknowledge your fitness level and focus on mastering proper technique and consistent workouts.
Make incremental changes. If you decide to suddenly start running every day or cut out sugar entirely, most likely the changes won’t stick. Focus your energy on steady positive changes like eating five servings of fruits and vegetables each day or committing to starting each morning with a brisk walk. Once you feel confident in your new routine, you can bump up the intensity with new progressive goals.
Progressive fitness is all about forming healthy habits that stick. Lifelong health doesn’t come from one gym session, but rather adopting an exercise and diet routine that you can build on throughout your life. If you’re struggling to find consistency in your workouts, try going back to the basics and setting realistic steady goals based on where you’re at right now, not where you want to be in three months or three years.