One important component of the fitness challenge is the recognition that you have an interest in improving your physical health. Many people have a high degree of activity in their lives. The question then becomes “If you don’t use it, why should you?” If you have an interest and enough time, the answer is simple. When you exercise or engage in sport, you should be doing so as a way to improve your health.
According to research, the amount of time it typically takes for a new habit to become habitual varies from six weeks to 24 months. During this period, many individuals begin to engage in some form of physical activity. As part of the fitness challenge, you should try to find time in your day to perform at least one to two activities that are consistent with forming new habits. Short-term, targeted fitness challenges (e.g., >4 week) are linked to several positive behavioral changes, greater productivity levels and, ultimately, more optimal quality of life.
Forming new habits is easier than breaking bad ones. Good nutrition, regular moderate-to-intensity workouts using free weights, cycling, swimming, and other exercises, and the right motivation are essential to developing new behaviors. The reason is that all fitness challenges require a consistent level of intensity and/or frequency to promote new behaviors. If you want to stick with a workout routine, changing eating and cooking habits is necessary for breaking bad habits, which is easier than breaking new ones.
In addition to performing routines at a regular rate and frequency, those pursuing fitness challenges need the added support system of friends and family to keep motivated. Consider forming a support system consisting of family, friends, co-workers or even a group of fellow exercisers. When you start a fitness challenge, you have specific goals and a set of expectations. When reaching your goals, you will feel connected and have extra motivation.
The biggest benefit of working out is the boost of self-esteem experienced by those who participate in high intensity workouts. Those who have personal or professional goals report higher self-esteem and are more likely to take on new challenges. When beginning a fitness challenge, consider a goal that will motivate you to work toward it each day. Your overall fitness routine will dictate what type of activity you choose.
In addition to new habits, those pursuing fitness challenges may experience new stressors. These can include work, family, children, and/or a change in physical appearance. Stress can make it difficult to maintain focus on your fitness routine, so plan to manage your stress before your workouts. Use tools like a calendar to mark important days or set aside time to discuss stressors with a trusted friend or relative. If you experience an extreme case of stress, seek professional help.
As your fitness routine progresses, you may find yourself wanting to make changes. A 30-day fitness challenge offers the best solution because you have a plan to work through any problems or issues that may arise. At the end of each 30-day period, you will be given a percentile and grade for your efforts. This helps you keep track of progress and offers incentive to continue your efforts.
One of the greatest benefits of working out is the chance to meet new friends and family. Join a gym, play tennis, swim or sign up for a yoga or dance class. These same social activities will encourage you to maintain your fitness routine and help you meet new people. Once your fitness challenge is over, you will be in a position to review your habits with a fresh outlook. You will have achieved one of the best things you can do for yourself.