Create A Sustainable Exercise Plan
By Dr Deborah Wong
January 7, 2020
By Dr Deborah Wong
You don’t always need a new year to make a change, but there’s just something extra special about turning the page in a calendar year that galvanises change just that little bit more.
According to a survey of 2000 people by Inc Magazine, the top 3 new year resolutions are to eat better, exercise more and lose weight.
For anyone who has not exercised outside of physical education classes in school, starting exercise can be extremely daunting.
This month, I share my top tips on How To Create A Sustainable Exercise Plan.
Set that goal! Decide why you want to start exercising. Maybe it’s because you want to complete a 10km run, or you want to be able to do a pull-up, or push-up. Maybe you want to lose weight, or achieve a certain goal body fat. It could be you want to lower your blood pressure, cholesterol or blood sugar levels. Any objective measurable goal is a good goal.
Write down your goal and place it somewhere visible. It will help keep you motivated once January is over. If you have a trainer, we recommend sharing your health goals with them so they can work towards getting you there!
There are many to choose from. From HIIT to Yoga to Pilates to Barre. Before jumping into anything too extreme like cross fit, you need to be realistic with where you’re at on a fitness level and what the exercise demands of you. If you’re just getting into fitness, a softer approach might be a better option as this will lessen the probability of getting injured and losing the focus and motivation to achieve your goals.
Having said that, any exercise that you enjoy is good exercise. The American College of Sports Medicine’s current recommendations for physical activity are 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. That is about 3 days a week of 1 hour exercise, or 5 days a week of 30 minutes of exercise. It could be brisk walking, weightlifting, swimming, yoga, dancing, Pilates, tennis, badminton, football, WII dancing – as long as it is something you enjoy. Mix it up! You could do a day of brisk walking, a day of weightlifting and a day of Pilates.
Having a specific goal helps with exercise choice as well. If you want to achieve a 10km run, incorporating running and lower limb resistance training would probably be appropriate. If you want to lose weight and achieve a lower body fat percentage, resistance training would be better. If you really can’t decide what to do, joining a gym or group fitness class like yoga or Pilates, hiring a personal trainer or doing team sports are also good ideas to get started.
Schedule your workouts into your calendar and make time for it. Personally, I find it easier to do 3 sessions of an hour workout a week as opposed to 5 sessions of 30 minutes. Treat your sessions as non-negotiable items in your day and within a couple of months, you would have build a habit that will last a lifetime.
In summary, all you need to do is dedicate some me-time to be active 3 times per week. Any type of workout is fine (the exercises or classes you find more fun, the better!) as long as you’re moving!
Good luck on your fitness journey! Be kind and patient with yourself.
The good news is if you are consistent and disciplined, you will see results much faster than you expect.
As Joseph Pilates, the master himself says, “In 10 sessions you’ll feel the difference, in 20 sessions you’ll see the difference, and in 30 sessions you’ll have a whole new body”!