Tips on building a wellness strategy to set yourself up for success with exercise.
There are a lot of options available to you when you’re first getting started with exercise (or getting back on track after a break from fitness). And while this can be an exciting prospect, it can also make the whole process feel a little overwhelming if you don’t know where to begin. Is there one type of workout that’s better than another? Should you include a nutritional component to your routine? Are you getting the best programming for your goals and body?
To help you navigate this new venture with a little more clarity, here are 6 steps to develop your own wellness strategy and get started with a fitness routine that works for you.
How to get started with exercise
First and foremost, it’s important to note that there’s no right way to get started with an exercise routine. Your body and your interests are unique, and your strategy to stay healthy is not going to look exactly like anyone else’s – and that’s okay.
This is the time to choose the right tools and support for you, and to set them up in a way that suits your lifestyle, so you can continue to progress toward a stronger and healthier you.
To create your own wellness strategy, take the following steps.
1. Identify why you want to start working out
In order to make a meaningful change in any aspect of your life, an essential first step is to identify what’s driving you.
Start by asking yourself why you want to be active. What results do you want to gain from exercise? How will achieving those results positively impact your life?
To gain clarity here, jot down your “why” in a document, as well as any strategies and tools that you feel would help you reach that goal. If you don’t know what’s to include just yet, simply write down “to be determined” and you can fill in that section after a little more research.
Why: To boost my self-esteem and confidence
Strategy: Lose weight and build strength
Why: To feel more independent in my daily life
Strategy: Reduce pain
2. Check in on your health
Now that you know why you want to get started, it’s a good idea to consult with your doctor to see if there’s anything you should consider before planning your next steps.
An early checkup can detect health problems or conditions that might put you at risk during exercise, as well as make it easier for you to understand how to optimize your activity to address your personal needs.
3. Anticipate your biggest obstacles
Next, sit down and think about what challenges you expect to encounter when trying to make a change to your current routine.
What has stopped you from being more active in the past? Where do you spend most of your time now? What are your current priorities and how might you need to adjust those in order to fit exercise into that mix moving forward?
Try to connect these challenges to the fitness goals you outlined above. For instance, if you want to lose weight, what specifically do you find challenging right now when trying to accomplish this? Is it that you don’t know what to do, or that you don’t feel like you have the time or energy to do it? By figuring out what’s really holding you back, you’re better able to determine which tools are going to help you be the most successful in making this change.
Jot these challenges down in the same document you started in the first step.
Goal: Boost my self-esteem and confidence
Strategy: Lose weight and build strength
Challenges: I don’t have time
Tools: An accountability system that helps shift priorities and keep you on track
Goal: Feel more independent in my daily life
Strategy: Reduce pain
Challenges: I don’t know how to exercise safely and effectively
Tools: An educational service that teaches you to move properly while respecting pain
4. Come up with a budget
As you begin to uncover the types of tools and support you’ll need, think about how much you’re willing and able to invest in this process.
You can go about this in a couple of different ways:
You can choose an estimated budget per tool (for instance, you can decide to invest $100 a month on a nutrition app, $100 on yoga, and $300 on personal training); or, you can choose an overall budget per month, quarter or year that gets divided out amongst the tools (example, you can decide you’re going to invest $500 a month in an over wellness strategy and then determine which tools fit together within this budget).
By taking the time to create this outline, you’re leading with the understanding that health is never a one-and-done deal and are setting yourself up to be successful in the long term.
5. Research the tools and activities you’ll consider for your workouts
With your outline all prepped, it’s time to research the actual tools and services you can now add into your wellness plan.
Start by getting a general idea of what services are available to you and, from there, you can investigate cost, service reviews and general fit for your activity level and interests.
Make a list of these options, including pricing, then refine that list until you’ve decided on the tools you want to try out. Here are a few examples of services that can be used for different goals:
Weight loss: A connection with a dietitian or starting a nutrition app like Noom can be extremely helpful in conjunction with an exercise program of your choice.
Increased strength: A strength coach can be a great resource to help you understand your body and build up your stability and movement literacy.
Improved mobility: A yoga practice could be a strong fit to develop more flexibility and control through your joints and elongate your posture.
Enhanced cardio: A group class setting like spin, rowing, or boxing, or joining a running group might be a good option to add some cardiovascular work to your wellness strategy.
Pain reduction: A physiotherapist is a great place to start, which can transition into an Active Rehab or graduated fitness program with a coach who understands your needs.
Or, instead of adopting a plethora of different tools, some people choose an all-in-one solution such as personal training with a coach that can develop a personalized strategy to bring a number of the above goals together into a cohesive program.
6. Try things out and change it up if necessary
Once you have your strategy all mapped out, go ahead and try it out. If things are going well, fantastic! But if they’re not, be sure to give feedback where appropriate so your service providers can tweak things and improve the effectiveness of your programs.
And if it’s still not a good fit, there’s no shame in changing things up and trying a different solution that may end up being a better fit.How to start working out, Kitsilano, Vancouver