Keeping consistency in your diet and exercise habits can make all the difference.
As big a part of my life as the IT world is, it’s not the only thing I think about. I also happen to be an avid fitness enthusiast! I believe exercise and wellness are big parts of leading a happy, healthy, and successful life, and I’d like to pass that on to you.
In this series, I’ll share simple and effective tips and insight for leading a healthier life. Keep these in mind, and you’ll be surprised by how soon you feel a difference!
This week I’ll be sharing a few thoughts on the importance of consistency and sticking with your routine.
Consistency is important for a few reasons. Not only is it much easier to stick to your fitness goals when you have a routine to follow, but you’re more likely to see the results you’ve been hoping for if you’re hitting the gym on the regular. Consistency in your diet is also important. I’ve talked before about easy ways to eat smarter, and sticking with good eating habits all week long will help make sticking to the rest of your routine less of an ordeal. Eating right makes you feel better, which makes finding the energy to get up and move less of a struggle.
Creating a workout schedule is the easiest way to maintain fitness consistency. You know better than anyone what a typical week looks like for you, so you should have no problem carving out set times in your schedule for whatever type of workout you plan to do. Regardless of whether you’re doing strength training or cardio, you need to leave yourself time to warm up and cool down.
Rushing through a workout or skipping a step because you’re pressed for time isn’t doing you any favors, so that twenty minute window between dropping one kid off at baseball practice and picking the other up from their swimming lesson is probably not the best time to try and sneak in a workout. If you can find yourself an uninterrupted hour three or four times a week, you’re ahead of the game.
Creating a consistent schedule for yourself is about more than just staying motivated, it’s also important for your physical well-being. Going for a nice long run one evening and then doing nothing for a couple of weeks afterward is not going to help you get fit or feel better. Instead, every time you get around to lacing up your sneakers or stopping by the gym will feel like the first time over and over again. You need to gradually build endurance if you want to maintain an active lifestyle and see a real change in your body.
Sticking with a routine lets your body adjust to the strain of a fitness regimen. That adjustment period is what lets you actually increase your fitness level and progress towards your end goal. It’s also what helps prevent injuries that can undo all your hard work by sidelining you for weeks at a time – or longer if you’re really unlucky. That’s not to say you can’t push yourself; you just need to be smart about it and be prepared to accept your limits where they are at the moment.
I’ve mentioned before why recovery and rest are things to keep in mind when approaching physical activity, but I can’t stress enough how crucial it is to give yourself time to cool down. Jumping into today’s workout when your body is still sore from yesterday’s because you skipped stretching in favor of heading straight home is a great way to find yourself blowing off a session. It doesn’t take much for that to become a habit, and before you know it you’re back to square one.
Maintaining your progress is really what consistency is all about. You can change up your routine, add new exercises and drop others, and even play with your schedule when life requires you to, so long as you’re still putting in the same amount of time and effort from week to week.
As an added bonus to all of the physical benefits you’ll see from keeping your workouts consistent, you’ll also find yourself in a better headspace. Exercise releases endorphins that enhance your mood, which can help to reduce your stress level and improve your overall mental wellbeing. That “runner’s high” you’ve heard people talk about? That’s the feeling they’re referring to, and it really does feel like some kind of natural high.
Sticking with a consistent diet and exercise routine will keep you feeling like the best version of yourself physically and mentally, and help you to build and maintain the body and the lifestyle you want to have for yourself.