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9 Tips for Creating a Successful Exercise Program

CRegal Sep 28th, 2012 (updated Nov 5th, 2014)
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New Year's Resolutions are often the times when people consider making lifestyle changes, including in creating a new (and successful!) exercise program. Don't wait until January 1 to change your lifestyle! Here are some tips for creating an effective exercise program for you and how to incorporate it into a long-term lifestyle change.

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Schedule
Schedule

This is about changing your lifestyle in the long-term.  To create a successful exercise program, you have to make it part of your lifestyle; schedule it into your day.  Don't try to shoe-horn gym time into a busy schedule.  Instead, block out the time as devoted to the gym, and have it be consistent for several times per week.

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Stretch
Stretch

A preliminary, prerequisite warm-up helps the body prepare for exercise. The muscles need to turn-on and become flexible.

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Motivation
Motivation

You have to want to work out if it is going to become part of your lifestyle.  Pick out exercises that you look forward to doing, and create an environment where it is not painful to go exercise.  A lifestyle change won't stick if you don't feel doing it.

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Convenience
Convenience

If a gym is across town, you may not be interested in traveling to go exercise.  If you don't build gym time into your schedule, you will find yourself sacrificing exercise for another activity.  Make sure that your exercise routine is something sustainable and convenient to ensure that it will become habit more than a chore.

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Variety
Variety

Many injuries are from overuse.  Activity variety allows some parts to rest while others do the work and no one part is doing all the work all the time.

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Fun
Fun

Exercising day after day can get repetitious and boring which is why you need variety and fun in your recipe. Find a handful of activities that you enjoy doing and put a smile on your face. An activity could include a group class, a sport, a game, or a challenge.

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Hydration
Hydration

You can easily help your body through a work out if you are properly hydrated.  Hydrating helps to avoid injury, cramping and pain in the muscles.

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Social
Social

You are also less likely to trash your exercise program if you have a buddy. A buddy is a companion who keeps you company and offers extra motivation.

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Patience
Patience

Do not forget to season your routine with patience. Everyone seems to want instant results from an exercise program. If results are not obtained in a short period of time, you might be tempted to throw out this recipe. But wait! Think about how long it has taken you to get out of shape. Months? Years? As long as it has taken you to become de-conditioned, it will take just as long to be re-conditioned.