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How to Make That New Year’s Exercise Resolution Last!

January 04, 2021

One of the most common New Year’s resolutions is some version of “get fit,” “lose weight,” “work out” or “get back in the gym.” Gym memberships and exercise equipment purchases soar every January.

But on average, 80 percent of New Year’s resolutions fail by the second week of February. Good new habits, especially ones drastically different from your current lifestyle, are hard to get started and even harder to keep. Research shows that, on average, it takes approximately 66 days for a habit to become automatic. Many of us don’t make it that long.

But improved fitness is a great goal! To help keep you motivated, on track, and smart about that “get fit” resolution, we asked Lee Bennett, Physical Therapist and Site Director of Hartford Healthcare Rehabilitation Network’s outpatient clinic in Pawcatuck, for some pro tips to start safely and stick with it.

  1. Discuss fitness goals with your physician or other medical professional, especially if you have any significant medical conditions or have previously been very sedentary.
  2. Set yourself up to succeed by hydrating well, eating a well-balanced diet, and getting enough sleep.
  3. Take advantage of any exercise equipment orientation sessions and/or free training sessions to assist with initiating an exercise regimen. Don’t hesitate to ask how to use exercise equipment. Gyms have staff available to ensure you understand how to set up and safely perform exercises.
  4. Perform warm-up, cool-down and stretches regularly to optimize your ability to perform exercise and reduce injury.
  5. Slowly progress training. Avoid excessive fatigue and exercise that causes pain. If any issues persist, advice from a licensed professional such as a physician or physical therapist may be needed.

Bennett also noted that it’s important to “be kind to yourself! Forgive yourself for lapses and perform physical activities/exercise that are enjoyable. Acknowledge issues and concerns but avoid making complaining a habit. Focus on what you can control and try to let go of what you can’t.”