Building a Year-Round Exercise Plan
September 19, 2021

summer exercise

A year-round exercise plan is a careful strategy that takes several different factors into account. It needs to challenge you at your current fitness level and do the same thing for you over time as that fitness level changes.  Moreover, it also needs to keep up with your motivations over time. After all, your drive for a fresh start at New Year’s is much different from the pressure you face to shed the winter pounds as the hot weather appears and clothes become more revealing.

A Year-Round Exercise Plan Must Stand the Test of Time

Motivation is at the very core of a year-round exercise plan.  Many people use a lack of body confidence as a driver to do their workouts. Unfortunately, that is not a consistent or lasting plan. It doesn’t keep a person on track for either diet or workouts. Typically, those types of motivation will last for a few weeks, a season, or until a certain event. Then, they dwindle.

When you create a year-round exercise plan, this must be taken into account.  It is, of course, typically considered healthier to avoid making lifestyle changes on behalf of a “bikini bod” based on what you’ve seen in a magazine. Instead, most mental and physical health professionals will recommend a healthier, longer-term goal that is not based on something that will expire in a short time.  The last thing you want is to put time and energy into setting yourself up for failure.

There is nothing wrong with having short-term goals as well, of course, provided that they feed into the long-term targets.

An Overall Goal of Consistency, Healthfulness and Enjoyment

Creating a year-round exercise plan doesn’t mean that you should expect to live most of your life at the gym.  You shouldn’t think that you will need to do the exact same boring routine every day for 365 consecutive days. Instead, your target is to create a habit of physical activity for most days of the week, that you’ll be able to keep up consistently. It should complement healthful eating and yes, the enjoyment of treats, though in moderation.  By establishing this type of consistent balance, there is no reason that you should avoid treats every now and again.  The key is to slip them out of your everyday and make them exactly that, a treat.

At the very core of this effort is to find your motivation.  Hopefully, you’ll have several, but starting with one is perfectly fine.  A year-round exercise plan should focus on using that motivation to its fullest. If you’re hoping to reduce or control your weight, then your workouts will need to play a role in that. If you want to lower your blood pressure (or stop it from getting too high), goals can be set to help you use that, too. Find out why you want to do your workouts and set long-term and short-term goals to achieve along the way.

That way, you won’t feel awful as swimsuit season approaches, worse when it arrives, and then give up once it’s done.

Get Started on Your Year-Round Exercise Plan Now

Whether it’s the start of a season, a month, or a year, even if it’s the start of a new week, find your “fresh start” feeling and give your year-round exercise plan a look. Remember that this will need to involve habits you can keep up in any season, not just what’s going on right now. It’s perfectly acceptable to add “swimming every Wednesday” to your plan, for instance, provided that you have an alternative activity ready to replace it when the swimming weather is gone.

Leaving room in your year-round exercise plan to adapt as your tastes change or as you want to try new activities is a wonderful idea. Still, as you get started, have some specifics in mind regardless.  You can change them later, but always give yourself the activities you’ll be doing and the times in which you’ll be doing them. That way, you won’t slip into the habit of skipping your workouts because you didn’t have anything planned, and you’re too tired to think something up on the fly.

Try to combine a mixture of indoor and outdoor activities to help things feel fresh and avoid your habit from feeling stale. Ideally, choose several activities you’ll be able to do outside no matter what the weather is doing, but there will be days that are too hot, too cold or too wet, for instance, to head out for a hike. Have lots of alternatives in mind.

Finally, put your year-round exercise plan on your schedule! Whether you like to exercise first thing in the morning, at lunchtime, or at some point after work, put it on your schedule. Make that time just as important as a meeting, and appointment or eating, so you’ll stick to it. Give it priority.  After all, it’s important!

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