NDSU Extension Service - Mercer County

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Have a Happy Healthy 2015!

New Year, New Year's resolutions, exercising, fitness program, physical activity

Submitted by Dena Kemmet, Extension Agent/Family and Consumer Sciences

This is the time of year many people have made a New Year’s resolution to get fit by exercising regularly. Unfortunately, people may start a fitness program but then stop because they become bored or lose their motivation. In fact, research suggests just 8 percent of people achieve their New Year’s goals. Try some of these strategies from the Mayo Clinic to help you stay motivated.

  • Keep it simple: Take tiny activity steps because they can add up to a big change in your behavior and way of thinking. For example, don’t start off trying to work out an hour every day. Choose a more realistic goal, such as exercising 20 minutes two to three times a week.
  • Give it time: Research indicates that people need to maintain a new activity, such as daily stretching, for three weeks for it to become a habit. However, turning a new routine into a permanent lifestyle can take six months.
  • Make it fun: Find an activity you like the most. Exercise does not have to take place in a gym. In the winter, try walking indoors, dancing or cross-country skiing.
  • Make physical activity part of your daily routine: Try to move naturally without having to think about it. For example, take the stairs at work.
  • Track your progress: Track your improvements, whether online or in a paper fitness journal, to keep you going. You also can log brief daily entries into your daily planner or on one of the many fitness-tracking smartphone apps.
  • Find people, whether they’re family members, friends, co-workers or neighbors, who will encourage you to stay on track: Ask them to hold you accountable.
  • Reward yourself: Treat yourself for reaching your goals with whatever you enjoy, such as a massage or tickets to a concert. Try to avoid decadent food rewards, though. Remember, by starting with small goals, you can collect victories and treat yourself each time you reach a milestone.
  • Be flexible; life happens: Get back on track as soon as possible. Don’t feel guilty.
  • Focus only on yourself: Don’t compare yourself to others. Someone always will be faster, fitter or more flexible than you.
  • Break it up: If getting started seems overwhelming, you may want to do more mini-sessions during the day instead of one long workout.
  • Make it convenient: If time is an obstacle, use exercise videos instead of driving to a gym. If you are too tired to work out at the end of the day, try an early morning exercise routine.

Remember, physical activity is important for good health. While finding ways to make physical activity a regular part of our life may not always be easy, it is worth the time and effort. If you find your motivation waning, revisit these tips to regain your enthusiasm.

Here are five tips to make 2015 more healthful:

1.         Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.

2.         Cook more meals at home.

3.         Drink more water.

4.         Try new activities.

5.         Make healthy changes together as a family or with friends.

Source: Julie Garden-Robinson, Ph.D., R.D., L.R.D., NDSU Food and Nutrition Specialist

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