For many people exercise seems too daunting and too demanding of a task. There are numerous exercise programs to choose from, and many people don’t know which one is best for them. Getting started on an exercise program is a large enough challenge considering the busyness of your daily life. It’s easy to conjure up excuses for why you shouldn’t exercise today. Where is the time to exercise? You tell yourself you will start tomorrow, or the next day, or the next, etc.
Exercise doesn’t have to feel impossible. You are not expected to climb Mount Everest every time you work out. With the overwhelming amount of data available on the value of daily exercise to your health, both physically and mentally, exercise should be viewed with gratitude and positivity. Hopefully it can transform into something you look forward to, rather than something you dread.
Perhaps you prefer working out in a group setting. This is always desirable for many people because as a group you can endure mental and physical stress together, and help one another push through the work out. For many people this is not an option. So what do you do? Here I’ve outlined five ways for you to exercise more effectively by yourself. It doesn’t matter what kind of exercise you choose to perform. Implement these five simple steps into your routine and I believe you will witness wonderful results.
1. Set an exercise target or plan before you start
I don’t want to present the idea that you have to embark on a two or three month workout program and know exactly what you are going to do every day. If you prefer this kind of exercise regimen than go for it. I am proposing that for each day you exercise that you have a goal or plan of what you want to accomplish.
It could be as simple as walking up ten flights of stairs or using the treadmill for twenty minutes. It doesn’t have to be grandiose but having a target for your exercise will help keep you focused. You will be more likely to complete your daily workouts when you choose realistic and attainable targets.
2. Focus on quality and not quantity
It took me a while to understand this one. There are a lot of people who go to the gym and spend two hours there. By the time they leave the gym they really haven’t accomplished much at all. It is not important that you spend a lot of time exercising but it is important that you spend quality time exercising!
Develop an exercise goal for the day so you can focus your workout without wasting unnecessary time. It will serve you better to spend thirty minutes at the gym lifting weights with a concrete plan of what lifts you are going to do and how much time you are going to rest in between each lift, than to wander aimlessly for a couple of hours. Spending more time at the gym doesn’t necessarily mean you exercised properly for the entire time you were there.
3. Challenge yourself with attainable exercise goals
Only you know your limits of how much you can push yourself. This is especially imperative when you are exercising alone. There is not going to be someone there yelling at you to push you.
You have to go into each workout telling yourself that you are going to get the most out of the workout. A walk through the neighborhood can be a great form of exercise especially if you are walking at a brisk pace.
With an exercise plan in place, along with a time limit in which to accomplish the workout, you are more likely to challenge yourself. If you go into a workout with no plan you are more likely to coast through the workout.
If your goal is to run one mile in fifteen minutes then you have a tangible goal of what you are trying to accomplish. Let’s say you finish the mile in thirteen minutes. Next time you can make a goal that you will run the mile in under thirteen minutes. This is how you challenge yourself.
It is not necessary for you to increase the intensity of each workout but when you feel you can do more, expand your limits. Not every exercise routine is going to be grueling and intense, but you have to be willing to test yourself if you want to experience positive results from exercising.
4. Concentrate on simple exercises, not complicated ones
This phrase can be utilized in many facets of your life. It is especially beneficial when exercising. You don’t need a complex exercise plan in order to notice results. You need to set a target, focus on quality, and challenge yourself.
Swimming ten laps in the pool might be an accomplishment for you. All you are doing is swimming, nothing else, but achieving the goal of ten laps will leave you confident and readier to swim more in the next workout. Exercise doesn’t have to include lots of fancy equipment. This stuff may help but if you are just beginning to exercise, this kind of equipment can be intimidating.
Focus on simple exercises and then work your way up to more complicated routines as you get more comfortable and gain confidence in your capabilities. This is vitally important when exercising alone because often you will not be able to use the fancy equipment on your own.
5. Be consistent
This is probably the most important aspect. You have to exercise regularly if you desire results. I am not saying that you have to exercise every day, although daily exercise has enormous advantages for your health. You have to exercise regularly, at least three or four times per week.
This can be quite challenging for many people because they start exercising and they get excited for the first few weeks. Then maybe the results aren’t exactly what they expected so they give up or they get busy at work and they start making excuses for why they can’t exercise. Stick with it!
Exercise can never be harmful unless it is done irresponsibly and too frequently. If you maintain an exercise regimen of three to five times a week, you are living a healthy lifestyle.
Exercising alone isn’t always easy but often it can be necessary. If exercising alone is your only option, then make sure you take advantage of the time you have. Utilie these steps to enjoy more productive and fulfilling exercise!
Featured photo credit: Man run at autumn morning. Healthy lifestyle concept via shutterstock.com