Change Your Exercise Routine
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Bringing in a new year always is the time when people think about making
positive changes to their lifestyle. Adding more movement or changing an
exercise routine is often on people’s resolution lists.
But change is hard. Changing or starting an exercise routine can be difficult.
Often people stop exercising when their schedules or life circumstances
change. If you’re not already exercising, finding the time and the
motivation to get started can be difficult.
Here are some steps from Sarah Myer, a member of the Eat Smart, Move
More, Weigh Less (ESMMWL) team at NC State, that may help you change or
start an exercise routine. She is a frequent contributor for the ESMMWL blog.
Myer changed her routine from an after-work run to early morning and
admitted in the blog that it wasn’t easy. Whether you’re trying to change
what you already do or you’re just getting started, here are some strategies
that helped her change her routine and may help you with your new year’s
Have a reason to change your routine
If you don’t have a reason, changing your routine is harder and less likely to
work. Do you want to try something new? Did your schedule change?
Maybe you never had a routine and have decided now is the time. If the
change is a forced change don’t dwell on the negative. Focus on what you
can do so that you can keep exercise in or add it to your life.
Build on Past Successes
Make a list of everything that helped you start your current routine. Make
sure you are doing those things when you switch your routines. The things
that made you successful with your current routine will help you
successfully change to your new routine. Set yourself up for success by
finding physical activities that you enjoy. If you enjoy the activity, it is much
more likely that you will continue and make it a habit.
Set out your workout clothes and gear ahead of time
It both sets the intention for exercise as well as removes an excuse not to
exercise. If you’re starting a new program, perhaps getting yourself
appropriate clothes and shoes will help with the motivation.
Hydrate and Fuel throughout the Day
Your hydration levels and your nutrition for the day before you exercise can
really help as you change your routines or add in exercise. You may find
yourself getting hungrier at different times of the day or need more water
or electrolytes than usual as you change your routine. Pay attention to your
body and make sure you are hydrating and fueling well.
Try it Once
Give the new plan a try. Getting started is the hardest part. If you’re going
to a new gym, running at a different time of day, or starting a walking
program…just getting out the door is a success. Build on each day.
Find a Buddy
This can be someone you exercise with or someone you connect with later
who keeps you accountable. Plan to meet someone to exercise with or ride
together. They expect you to be there and you expect them. This is old-
fashioned “peer pressure” but can also add fun to the plan. Exercising can
be a great social experience. Take family or friends with you or find some
new friends at a local fitness class. If you can’t find an exercise buddy to do it with you, at least let someone know what you are doing and check in with them to let them know how it went. There are also some amazing communities online for different types of exercise where you can find support.
Read Myer’s original post as well as others on eating smart,
moving more, and living mindfully.
Eat Smart, Move More, Weigh Less was developed by NCSU and the NC
Division of Public Health. It is a 15-week online weight management
program that informs, empowers, and motivates participants to live
mindfully as they make choices about healthy eating and physical activity. If
you want to incorporate healthier strategies in 2023, learn more at
Eat Smart, Move More, Weigh Less.
The team also offers a CDC-recognized diabetes prevention program called
Eat Smart, Move More, Prevent Diabetes. The program is available for
those with prediabetes or at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Learn
more at Eat Smart, Move More, Prevent Diabetes
Cheryle Syracuse wrote this article and similar ones for the Family and Consumer Sciences Column in the Brunswick Beacon. Syracuse is an FCS team member and can be reached at N.C. Cooperative Extension, Brunswick County Center, 910.253.2610, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.