When we got in touch with Megan from Adapt – Bespoke Health and Fitness, I said ‘Meg, I keep starting an exercise regime but keep giving up after the first week, what can I do to help?’

Here’s what she wrote back:

Man and Woman Exercising On Treadmills

Everyone starts their first exercise session with the best of intentions of making it a regular part of their lives. However, the majority of people struggle to keep it going. It’s important to remember that this is very normal and you are not alone.

There are some simple strategies and things that we can recognise which can help overcome that challenge to stay involved in exercise.

Here are 6…

Find Something That You Enjoy

If you choose to do a form of exercise you enjoy then you are far more likely to want to do it and stick at it. If you are looking forward to your chosen activity then finding the motivation to do it suddenly becomes less of a problem.

There are so many different forms of exercise that there is bound to be something you enjoy. It’s all about trying out different things and finding what is the best for you.

A few examples of things to try include;

  • Team sports e.g. football, hockey, netball, cricket, rugby, water polo
  • Individual sports e.g. swimming, running, horse riding, tennis, badminton, climbing, biking, paddleboarding
  • Group exercise classes e.g. HIIT, Zumba, weight classes, circuits, aqua classes
  • Gym e.g. cardio, weights
  • Walking

Make Sure Your Exercise Is Sustainable

You want to make sure that the exercise you are doing is sustainable. You don’t want to burn out after a week and find you can’t keep going. Things to think about include;

Type of Exercise

If the exercise you love is of extremely high intensity then it may not be sustainable to do it well seven days a week. Even if you manage it for the first week it is unlikely you will be able to continue this.

Think about making your exercise sessions different levels of intensity so that you can maintain for example 2-3 exercise sessions a week.

Frequency of Exercise

When you start exercising be realistic with what you can do in a week. It is fine to start with two sessions a week and build up from there. Having fewer sessions to start with means you are more likely to maintain your motivation.

Doing something is better than nothing.

Set Goals

Having something to aim for is so important to get into the right mental space to exercise. Small goals are just as important as big goals as without achieving the small goals you won’t achieve the big ones.

For example, your small goal might be to exercise twice a week and your big goal is to lose x amount of weight in x months.

Achieving your small goals will help keep you going and give you the motivation to complete sessions.

Goal Setting Tips

  • Make sure your goal is realistic but challenging
  • Make sure it is something that is measurable so you know when you have achieved it
  • Give yourself a timeframe in which to achieve the goal

Make It Sociable

Team up with your friends to do something together. If you know you’re going to see friends as well as exercise you’re more likely to turn up and get it done. You’ll motivate each other to go. If you are going to gym classes you might even make new friends!

Don’t Make It Too Hard

If you are simply exercising for health benefits you do not need to be pushing yourself to the limit. You aren’t training for the Olympics so if you don’t want to be absolutely exhausted then that is fine.

Choosing to have a light exercise session is much better than not exercising at all. It doesn’t have to be about getting all sweaty and collapsing on the floor. Heading out for a quick walk is more than suitable.

Make A Playlist

If you are going to the gym or on a run make a playlist before you go. Knowing that you’ve got some music to help motivate you can really push you to keep on going.

It can also add to the enjoyment of exercising by creating that extra fun element.

You can use your playlist to help time the length of your session and know how far into the session you are.

Hopefully, by recognising and implementing this advice you will have an increasingly positive attitude towards exercise and will feel better prepared to take part regularly.

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Thanks Meg! To hear more from her on Exercise, Nutrition and more you can find her on Instagram at @adapthealthandfitness 

And for more mental health tips, tricks and education, please visit our articles page or follow us on social media!