As a group exercise instructor, I frequently hear “I want to improve my fitness”. But what specific aspects of your health and fitness do you want to improve? There are many elements or components to the broad term that is "fitness", examples including cardiovascular health, muscular strength, balance, endurance, co-ordination or flexibility and mental health and more.
Before you can plan HOW to achieve your fitness aims, you must first decide WHAT they are. Identify the reasons why you started exercising or want to start. Maybe you want to:
Lose body fat.
Keep up with the kids or grandchildren.
Improve your functional fitness – find everyday daily living tasks easier to do.
Train for increasing sports performance.
Reduce back pain.
Increase your mobility, flexibility, or stamina.
Reduce the risk of falls and improve your balance.
Reduce the risk of existing or future health problems.
Reduce stress levels.
Making yourself a list of the potential health benefits and outcomes that you want to achieve can be extremely helpful in changing your mindset and making the all-important mental decision to start! Knowing your goals will also help you to identify HOW you are going to get there.
Identify Your Fitness Goals and Milestones
You’re going to be far more successful in seeing the benefits of your fitness aims and desired outcomes if you set smaller, realistic goals and milestones. Setting goals that you are unlikely to reach is more likely to make you feel demoralised, burned out, and feel like quitting!
Identify your starting point, (be honest with yourself here!) plan and aim to start or improve gradually.
Set yourself up for success and by setting achievable, measurable goals that that are personal to you that you can celebrate and build on along the way. It won’t then feel like a huge impossible task. Examples of initial goals may be:
Walk up a flight of stairs without feeling breathless.
Walk or run 5k within 3 months.
Lose 5lbs in a realistic timeframe.
Touch your toes.
Increase or improve a personal best.
When you have identified those goals - accept that the responsibility for reaching them is yours. Avoid comparing your progress with anyone else, this is YOUR individual goal set!
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