When you think of exercise, what comes to mind? Is it a perky instructor in front of a room full of people? Or maybe it’s a solitary jog through the woods. Do you picture someone lifting heavy weights or a flexible yogi? What kinds of feelings do these images conjure up?
The best way to stick to an exercise program is to find an activity you like. We’ve explored ways to exercise without knowing you’re exercising already, but what if you want something more structured? When starting a new exercise habit, there are several factors to consider.
1. What time of day works best for you?
Are you a morning person who likes to start the morning off with a bang? If so, you might consider a morning group fitness class or an early morning run. Or maybe your energy peaks in the afternoon. In that case, try finding a lunchtime class, go for an afternoon walk, or hit the gym for a quick circuit before going back to work. If you’re more of a night owl, consider going for an evening swim, add some relaxing yoga to your routine, or get together with some friends for a dance class.
2. Are you a loner or a people person?
This might be one of the biggest factors in whether you can stick with an exercise program or not. If you prefer to work out alone, then trying to stick with an exercise plan that involves a large group is a sure way to dread your workouts. If, on the other hand, you are a social butterfly, then it’s going to be difficult to stay motivated with a home practice or a solitary plan.
3. Do you prefer weight training, aerobic exercise, or body weight/stretching?
Everyone has a preferred style of exercise. If you’re a runner or a swimmer, then CrossFit might not be for you. On the other hand, you might hate running and weight training, but love the stretching and body weight training that yoga provides. While it’s healthy to throw different styles into your routine every so often, figuring out which style of exercise you prefer and building a routine around that style is a great way to ensure you stick with your plan.
Once you figure out which style you prefer, it’s time to make a plan. If you enjoy solitary walking or running, check out my article on where to walk around Bangor. There are plenty of yoga classes on YouTube for those who prefer a home yoga practice, and if you prefer to lift weights at home, free weights are easy to find, as are home workout programs. If you prefer working out with a friend or in a group, check out classes at the Bangor Y, the New Balance Student Recreation Center, or one of the many yoga studios around Bangor. You could even check out my Local Marital Artists Series and try a martial art, which combines a social atmosphere with an intense workout, and useful skills.
Of course, some people like a combination of solitary and group activities, as well as a combination of weight training, aerobics, and bodyweight/stretching. I happen to be one of those people. My exercise program is an eclectic mis of martial arts, yoga, weight training, and cardio. I get bored easily, so I can’t imagine sticking with only one form of exercise. I enjoy having friends in a class, but also like the peace of working out alone. For me, that means that I’m most likely to stick with a program that is a little different each day, so that’s exactly what I do.
Figure out your style and have fun with it.