It’s a month and a half into 2019, and what may have seemed like an easily obtainable fitness resolution on New Year’s Day might not seem that way anymore.
To encourage those who may need a boost, we asked readers and fitness experts to share their best fitness advice.
Siobhan Tripp of Hatfield says she seeks out fitness activities at the gym that she enjoys.
“For me, it’s going to classes,” she said.
Tripp schedules and tracks her workouts in her calendar.
“I schedule the classes ahead of time and put (them) in my calendar,” she said. “Once I go, I put a sticker on the calendar to have a visual representation of how often I went. It’s a really great motivation.”
Often, says Johnna Paulsen, a personal trainer at Northampton Athletic Club, she sees clients fail when they try to bite off more than they can chew. Instead, she suggested starting small, like trying to be active for 10 minutes a day or 30 minutes a week.
“If you’re going from zero to something, even a little something is better than nothing. It’s good to start small so it doesn’t feel overwhelming,” Paulsen said.
Another good way to encourage physical activity is to invest in a step tracker, she suggested.
“Eventually you can get to that 10,000 step goal that’s recommended, but you don’t have to start there,” she said. In her experience, Paulsen said those who build community by going to group fitness classes or exercising with a friend are typically more successful.
“Tie something you enjoy with exercising, like listening to an audio book or your favorite podcast while you’re doing your cardio,” she said.
Meredith Brown of Greenfield says she intentionally includes novel, physical activities in her schedule when she can’t make it to the gym.
“I try to plan active activities with friends. Today I’m going tubing, which will require a lot of walking and carrying big tube up a hill a ton of times,” said Brown. If she doesn’t have time for that, she said, “I do sets of squats and lunges during breaks at work.”
Rob Kelley of South Hadley says he breaks up monotonous exercises like riding an exercise bike by doing pushups or crunches every five minutes or so. Kelley says he usually begins his day by following a yoga routine on a digital application (he recommends an app called Keep Yoga), which he finds calming, followed by an hour or so of cardio.
He begins exercising early in the morning because that’s when he has the most energy.
Typically, Kelley says he rides a stationary bike in his basement. He prefers exercising at home over in a gym because he feels more comfortable. Sometimes, he’ll watch a movie or television show on a cell phone propped up on the display. If it’s warm out, he often opts to jump rope or go for a run outside instead.
“Basically I break up a regular military workout,” says Kelley, who served in the Marine Corps. “Evenings are for weight and strength training because it wears you out and helps you sleep better.”
Occasionally, Kelley says, he volunteers as a fitness instructor at Westover Air Force Base helping to get new Marine recruits ready for boot camp. It’s a way to revisit the military training that helped him develop his fitness habits. And when he runs, Kelley says, he still aims to achieve the Marine Corps fitness standards.
“I try to do the full 3 miles if I can. I’m not as fast, but for me, it’s about the distance. Time is good in a combat scenario, but for fitness, it’s better (for me) to just keep it steady,” Kelley said.
Running’s not for everyone, certainly. Body-weight movements like pushups or planks are especially good for those who are trying to incorporate exercise into their daily routine because they can be done anywhere, said Paulsen.
Most of all, she recommends trying to find ways to make exercising fun.
“If you can’t do that, it’s not likely you’ll stick with it,” she said.
Andy Castillo can be reached at email@example.com.