How to Find the One—the Exercise Routine That’s Meant for You
With so many fitness programs out there, and new ones emerging every day, it may be tricky to figure out which one works for you. While you may be dreaming of running a marathon, an old lower body injury might be keeping you from that victory. Or maybe you would love to hit up the gym and lift weights with your buddies, but you find yourself dreading to go, bored just thinking about being in a climate controlled space for an hour every day. With exercise routines, one size doesn’t fit all. No two regimens are the same, and not every single one is ideal for each person. Between physical capability and personal preference, the main thing is to find a routine that you’ll stick with for the long haul. Here are a few questions you should ask yourself to help identify “the perfect one.”
Do I enjoy it? This might be the single most important aspect of a successful fitness commitment. If you don’t like doing it, at least to some level, you will be inconsistent and eventually stop doing it. If you find yourself dragging your feet to the gym or bored within the first minute or two of your yoga practice, maybe those routines simply aren’t for you. Try to start thinking of regimens that would keep you interested. You don’t have to be over-the-top-obsessed, but you should at least enjoy the time you spend exercising enough that you’re willing to do it a few times every week.
What is my fitness goal? If your goal is to build muscle, aerobic focused exercises might not necessarily be ideal (though it’s still important for any fitness routine). Maybe you want to beef up your endurance. If that’s the case, you’ll want to focus on exercises that build stamina, like long distance running or road biking. Maybe you just want to get outside and be active as often as possible. Knowing what results you want will help you determine how types of activities to pursue.
What’s my fitness level? An honest assessment of your fitness level will help determine which exercises will suit you. You can always up the ante, but just starting out, you should focus on a routine that matches your skill level to prevent frustration and burn out. Also, consider what your body can handle. If you have injuries, always account for them. Also, if you are already in shape, consider trying something new that will push you to new levels of fitness.
How can I add variety? Having multiple options helps keep your routine exciting and prevents boredom. If your current regimen includes muscle-strengthening, consider adding in a few days of aerobic workouts like cycling or jogging. Maybe for you, variety just means a change of atmosphere. For example, if you’re used to running on a treadmill, mix it up by hitting an outdoor trail.
What’s my ideal setting? There’s a huge difference between exercising outdoors and in the gym. While some people love the camaraderie of the gym, others absolutely hate it. Knowing this about yourself will definitely help narrow down your options. Also to consider: do you like solo workouts or in a group? Do you prefer in-home or at a studio? What time of day/season? Asking yourself all of these questions are immensely helpful in determining which regimen is not only right for you, but is one that will help you stick with over time.
What’s my budget? Let’s face it: most exercise options aren’t cheap. If you are limited on your workout budget, that will determine many of the activities that you can or can’t do. Even gym memberships might be out of the question due to their cost. But this is perfectly fine! There are plenty of options that are either free or have a very low start up cost.
Here’s to finding your perfect exercise routine!