Got 10 minutes a day? Tips to achieve your New Year’s fitness goals

You can increase your chances for long-term success if you follow these four simple tips to achieve your fitness goals.

Vahdaneh Vahid
Vahdaneh Vahid - Special to Al Arabiya English
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It's that time of year again...time to focus on your New Year's resolutions. Many people begin an exercise program, but abandon it before Easter. However, you can increase your chances for long-term success if you follow these four simple tips to achieve your fitness goals.

Create a plan

Before you start your exercise program, answer three questions. First, when will you exercise? Identify three days and times that are convenient for you and stick to those days so you are working out at the same time each week. Second, what type of exercise will you do? The best type of exercise is one you enjoy. Don't worry about what everyone else is doing; pick an exercise that works for you. Choose from activities such as walking, cycling, running, swimming, weightlifting, skating, dancing, golf, handball, tennis or basketball. Third, how much time will you spend exercising? Start with as little as 10 minutes per session and slowly build up to at least 30 minutes per workout.

Find an exercise partner

You may know someone who has also committed to start exercising in the New Year. Begin your fitness journey together. It will increase your chances for success and you'll have more fun. For this to work, you have to find an exercise that both of you enjoy. This might be a challenge, but it's worth it since an exercise partner provides you with a support system, a positive social experience and inspiration. There may be times when you don't feel like working out and a partner can be just the motivation you need to get going.

Take it steady

Think of your resolution as a lifelong commitment to a healthier lifestyle. You are much more likely to be successful if you take it steady at the beginning. You may see people exercising at a very high intensity, but it will be more ideal for your own workouts to start with low-to-moderate intensity. Or you may know people who train six days a week, but it's just as effective for you to start with three. You may also see people engage in a diverse array of physical activities, but a 15-minute walk three days a week is a great place to begin.

Be realistic

One of the biggest problems with New Year's resolutions is they can be extremely impractical. Setting goals is a great idea, but make sure they are realistic and feasible. For example, a goal to lose 5kg by Easter is both reasonable and achievable and so is a goal to complete a 5K run! However, setting a goal to complete a marathon by that date is unrealistic and potentially unsafe, if you are a newbie to running. Start slow and work towards developing a solid foundation of fitness and as your fitness improves you can set more challenging goals later on in the year.

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