Jim Hester meets his exercise goals each week in Splendido’s onsite fitness center.
With workouts, as with other aspects of life, setting realistic, specific goals can substantially boost your chances of making a positive change. Many studies support this, proving that people who set goals are setting themselves up for success.
An Exercise Example
At Splendido, an all-inclusive community in Oro Valley for those 55 and better, Get Fit Coordinator Todd Lutz offers residents a goal-setting exercise along with ongoing fitness classes, and weight and cardio workouts. “At the beginning of the year, I’ll ask residents and staff if they’re interested in writing down some fitness goals for the year,” says Todd. “You’re much more likely to keep up regular fitness training when you have a goal to meet. Putting it in writing makes it a firm commitment.”
That was certainly the case for 79-year-old Jim Hester. After setting goals in January of 2018, he was still going strong at the end of the year. His goal is to perform a weekly workout routine that includes swimming 800 meters, rowing 5 kilometers, a circuit on the weight machines in the fitness center, and two hours of pool volleyball.
“I break it up, but altogether I’m exercising four or four and half hours a week,” he says. “As a kind of discipline, I record what I did every day on a calendar,” he explains. “That calendar is there staring me in the face, and I don’t want to disappoint myself.”
A Rediscovery & a Delight
Jim has exercised on and off for his entire life, but when he and his wife Darilyn moved to Splendido in February 2017, he says it was “a sort of rediscovery of some things, and a delight in realizing that I could go downstairs to the fitness center without having to go outside, get in the car, and drive to a gym.” He adds, “Removing those barriers made me feel like this could be a lot easier to do.”
Tips for Setting Exercise Goals
If you’d like to follow Jim’s lead in setting and maintaining goals for exercise, follow these guidelines to help ensure your success:
- Be specific. Take care in how you frame your goal and focus on action. Rather than saying you’re going to lose weight or reduce your blood pressure, choose exercises that will accomplish your target, and pinpoint the type of exercise and the timeframe, such as taking a brisk 30-minute walk every day.
- Be realistic. Take your abilities and your availability into account. If you want to reduce your blood pressure by doing yoga every day, do you have time to do that? Do you have access to a class or a place to practice?
- Write it down. Once you have a specific, realistic goal, write it down and keep it somewhere where you can see it. You may also find it helpful to log your progress or practice as Jim Hester does.
- Tell others about it. Sharing your goal with your spouse or friends will help hold you accountable.
- Schedule it. Literally put your exercise time in your calendar and treat it like an important meeting. This will help set your routine.
Whatever exercise goal you decide to get and work toward, keep your eye on the prize: better physical and emotional health, and the satisfaction of reaching an achievement.
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