Overcoming your physical activity rut

Today’s blog is written by Jump IN volunteer and guest blogger, Madison Crisler. Madison is currently a Senior at IUPUI studying Fitness Management and Personal Training. She has been coaching small group fitness classes as well as 1 on 1 training people for almost 4 years now and is helping us to help you all overcome the exercise rut you may be in.

Is your New Year’s Resolution to be more fit falling by the wayside?

Now, let me start off by saying that I have been there and done that. Every year, the holidays come around and I go overboard on all the comfort food and all my healthy habits I had been working on feel ruined, so I promise myself at the start of the New Year that I will exercise way more and eat way healthier. Yet, after a few months I find myself back to square one. Overtime, I have found a few ways to help not only myself, but my clients stick to their goals long term and I wanted to share them with you.

Family hula hoops together
Build physical activity into family fun time

When it comes to setting goals start small, like smaller than you would think. You start the new year off with a goal of losing 20 lbs, then you find yourself 4 weeks in and you are down what, 5 lbs?! When you look at it like that, your goals can become overwhelming, which makes it easier to give up. When setting your goals think of SMART goals. That means it is Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Oriented. So instead of “I want to look 20 lbs” try “I will take the indoor cycling class on Mondays and Wednesdays from 6:30-7:30pm for the next 4 weeks.” This will take out the guess work of your goals and hold yourself accountable.

Children run outside

Next, make it easy for yourself to get into the habit. If your goal is to go to the gym and exercise more, keep your gym bag packed in your car so after work you do not even need to stop home. Or if your goal is to eat healthier, try having fruits and veggies already washed and cut up in your fridge, so you can have a quick healthy snack instead of waiting until you are starving and cannot wait to cook a meal. Or if your goal is to go to sleep earlier, set a time restriction on your phone once it is time for bed to avoid staying up late scrolling.

Getting enough physical activity doesn’t necessarily mean committing to an exercise regimen – simply moving around more can make a big difference. With the temperatures increasing and the days getting longer, take advantage of it by going for a walk, doing yard work, or even cleaning your house. Things like this are a great start because you are still moving, but you do not think of them as exercise! Getting in as much physical activity as possible will not only help your fitness levels, it also is great for your mind and body! Or, on those cold and gloomy days, make exercising more fun for you! Try playing an uplifting playlist that make you want to sing along, going with a friend you enjoy being around, wearing clothes that you feel comfortable and confident in, or even going to group exercise classes.  Women’s Health recently published a good piece on overcoming your physical activity slump and falling in love with physical activity – it might sound impossible, but you can do it https://www.msn.com/en-gb/health/fitness/10-ways-to-fall-in-love-with-fitness-straight-from-the-people-who-know/ar-BB1dwLmc

Now, if you’re still not sure where to start, or you get a little off track with your goals, you can still always come back to the 5-2-1-0 concept: 5 servings of fruits or vegetables, 2 hours or less of recreational screen time, 1 hour or more of physical activity and 0 sugary drinks. This is a simple, evidence-based system to make it easier for anyone and everyone to make healthy choices.

5-2-1-0 every day

I hope this helps you stay positive and keep moving!