Exercising more is a great resolution. It can help you lose weight, build muscle, make daily tasks easier to perform and improve your overall health. Here are a few specific ways you can make your exercise resolutions more effective.

1. Start Off Slow. Most people have an ambitious New Year’s Resolution of “getting into shape.” This broad goal can have many benefits if done properly, but too many people jump into it without truly knowing how to do it. Starting an exercise routine after long periods of inactivity can put a lot of stress on your body leading to overuse injuries. Starting off slow will allow your body to gradually get used to your workout, prevent injuries and get into shape faster.

2. Exercise With Others. Find a sport or organized activity to get involved with. Whether it’s a group that bikes together or friends that play basketball, group exercising is a great way to get physically active. If you play a sport you enjoy, time flies by very quickly. Having fun while exercising will make for a much better workout and you are much more likely to stick to an activity you enjoy.

3. Start a Well Rounded Routine. When starting a new routine, be sure to include all components of fitness: flexibility, cardiovascular and strength training. Concentrating only on one instead of all will cause you to miss out on key benefits unique to each component.

4. Find a Workout Buddy. When starting an exercise resolution, one of the best ways to ensure success is to find a workout buddy. Jumping into a routine alone can be overwhelming. Finding a workout buddy will help you create a workout routine and stay motivated long after the New Year is over. It’s a lot harder to let a friend down than it is yourself. A friend can push you to work harder and help you stay focused on your ultimate goal.

5. Start a Workout Journal. Tracking your progress will let you know if you’re moving in the right direction. You should keep track of weights, number of repetitions and cardio times/intensities. Each time you do a workout, you can compare your new results to the ones you’ve written down to make sure you’re steadily improving. You can also keep track of other metrics including body weight and body fat percentage.

The Bottom Line

Exercise resolutions are no different than any other type of resolution. To see real improvements from a successful resolution, you need to set realistic goals (with time frames) and put concrete steps into place to reach them.

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