You may have a goal to increase your physical fitness this year, but in the commotion of your daily life it can be difficult to get started. Setting a schedule for yourself is a critical step in finding your fitness groove. Follow these guidelines to making a personal exercise schedule to get yourself out the door and on the road to physical health.
Pick your calendar
Plan to write your exercise schedule down in a place where you will see it often and be able to refer to it when needed. If you have a big wall calendar or frequently use a planner, write it there. Other options may be to use an app or calendar on your phone or another electronic device.
Assess your time
Start by setting aside a few minutes at the start of the week. Add it to your schedule and reserve this time each week for planning your exercise. Then, begin answering the following questions: When is your energy high? What’s your work schedule? When does your spouse get home from work? When do the kids go to sleep? Find a time slot in your day, even if it’s just 20 minutes, in which you can make exercise a priority.
Vary your exercises
To optimize your health, a variety of exercises should be part of your schedule. Working with weights should be done 3-5 times per week for muscle building and bone strength. Cardiovascular activities should also be done 3-5 times per week for a healthy heart and lungs. Be sure to include warm up and cool down time in each of your workouts to avoid injury. Allow yourself a day of rest and recovery.
Gather ideas from outside sources
You may be wondering what types of exercise other active people are scheduling for themselves and when they work out. Go online or simply ask those you know what exercises they do and for how long. You can even try this “Fitness Plan Generator” over at SparkPeople.
Check your community
Most cities have community groups, classes, or activities you can join. Check with local gyms, friends, and dance studios. Yoga, Zumba, pilates, aerobics, dance… There are classes for everyone! Ask other people in your neighborhood if they’d like to start a walking or biking group. Find something that interests you, note the times it is available, and seriously consider making it a part of your schedule.
Make slow increases
Once your basic schedule is set you can add small changes each week during your planning session. Use your schedule from the week before as a reference and increase duration, weight, and reps to maximize your efforts and continue to improve your physical fitness.
Some other tips
- Use an app – there are many apps you can use to schedule your workouts, along with learning proper form for different exercises and tracking your food intake! Start with this list of five favorite fitness apps from HuffPost.
- Try short rounds of exercise – if you really can’t find a spare 30 minutes in your day, you can try doing multiple smaller workouts spaced throughout the day to add up to a full session.
- Be flexible – don’t get discouraged if your schedule doesn’t work out on occasion. Inevitably, things will come up and your exercise will get sidelined. Try to squeeze a little in at another time or plan to exercise a little longer the next day.
Kayla Lilly is a photographer, writer, wife, and mama making a house a home in eastern Idaho. She met her mister while working at an amusement park and married him a year later after deciding there was no way to live without him. The amusement has continued as they’ve added three kids and a passel of pets to their lives while finishing college and starting a photography business. Drawing inspiration from the whirlwinds of marriage, parenthood, and the media, Kayla blogs at Utterly Inexperienced, and spends the rest of her time chasing chickens, organizing junk drawers, diapering toddlers, and photographing everyone willing to step in front of her lens.
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