If you’ve walked past a gym or a public park, you’ve probably noticed the sudden increase in parked cars and people in exercise clothes coming and going. That’s because it’s the New Year, and lots of people looking to exercise more probably hit the ground running.
But before you go out and purchase those expensive running shoes and stylish exercise gear, consider these pointers to get fit and stay fit in 2024.
Every advertisement for a gym or health club stresses accessibility. More specifically, they stress how their gyms embrace a “come as you are” approach to their client base; you don’t need to look like a fitness model, just come and be yourself.
Keep that philosophy for your own fitness goals. Yes, working out can be uncomfortable in the short term, but you should always exercise in areas and gyms where you feel the most comfortable being yourself. And that may lead you to ignoring the gyms and spending more time jogging on nature trails or doing laps in a public park.
Remember to practice common courtesy wherever you choose to exercise, too. Not everyone will appreciate watching you do yoga in your underwear in a public park.
Have a Goal
The big reason why so many fitness efforts fail? A lack of a solid goal.
People start exercising for a variety of reasons, from wanting to look better to becoming fit enough to run a marathon and everything in between. There’s not really a bad goal for wanting to exercise, and most times you’ll experience fantastic side benefits while pursuing your goal (like looking better because of all the work you’ve done preparing for a marathon).
But if you just start exercising without a specific fitness goal in mind, you may have a hard time maintaining your health efforts. Society already has us primed to feel shame and guilt for not being as active (and looking as fabulous) as world-class athletes, so having a goal will help you from falling into a pit of self-defeat.
And it doesn’t have to be a hard goal, either; even taking a 20-minute walk every day counts as a fitness goal.
You Don’t Have to Love It
Exercise can be hard, so don’t be too hard on yourself if the idea of deadlifts makes you nauseous.
It’s also important not to get discouraged if a specific type of exercise doesn’t work for you. For example, most beginners might find the high intensity of crossfit to be too much for a starting point. On the other hand, others may find the low intensity of a yoga session too slow and ineffective for your health goals.
Also, no exercise law, rule, or decree demands that you engage in every exercise session with the wild enthusiasm of a fitness fanatic. So if you roll out of bed and groan about having to lace up your shoes and go running, that’s okay. There are people who have been exercising regularly for half their lives that still get nervous about a morning run.
Cheat Days Are Wonderful
Seriously. Go have a cookie because you deserve it. It’s all about balance!