Many people do their best to workout in various ways on a regular basis, such as by jogging around the neighborhood, cycling to work or hitting the gym. However, with the incredible demands that your various professional and personal responsibilities place on you, you may find it difficult to remain consistent with a fitness plan. In addition to the time constraints in place, you may also feel too fatigued, stressed or otherwise unmotivated to workout even when time is available in your schedule. While there are health benefits associated with pacing yourself, taking too much time off or being generally inconsistent with your efforts has negative results that you should be aware of before you skip another workout.
The Impact of Consistency on Physical Health and Condition
Each person has specific goals that they want to achieve through their workouts, such as increasing lean muscle mass, losing body fat or simply improving overall health. When you follow a well-designed workout plan that includes proper timing for rest days, you may more easily achieve your long-term goals. Spreading out your workouts evenly with strategic rest days may help you to avoid overuse injuries as well as general fatigue and soreness.
Resting at appropriate intervals is important to a fitness plan, but too much rest between workouts can be detrimental to your efforts. For example, when you exercise regularly, you build endurance and muscle strength. Your muscles have time to rest without concern for losing muscle mass. However, when you skip workouts, you may lose endurance and have more trouble building muscle. In addition, if you take more than three days of rest in a row, your risk of physical injury once you return to your activity may increase.
How Consistency Affects Mental Health
Working out consistently also plays a role in your mental health and your overall psyche. For example, when you get into a regular routine and follow it consistently, you may feel more mentally motivated to continue with the activity. On the other hand, when you skip one or more scheduled activities, skipping the workouts becomes a habit. When this happens, you may lose your motivation to continue with your fitness plan. In addition, regardless of the type of physical activity that you enjoy, exercise can reduce your stress level and clear your mind. Generally, it can improve your mood because it is a natural, healthy way to deal with stress generated in other areas of your life.
Tips to Improve Consistency
Consistency becomes challenging when workouts are dull and boring, when they are overly repetitive, when they lose meaning or when you feel stressed by spending time working out that could be spent on other things. There are a few steps that you can take to combat each of these challenges. For example, focus on why you initially started working out, such as to lose weight, improve your health and more. Continuously remind yourself about these goals, and consider setting new goals if you have already accomplished your older goals. If you are having trouble progressing, consider setting small milestones that you want to accomplish. You may be able to make your workouts more exciting if you bring a friend along. You can also listen to music, change the scenery or alter your workout slightly from day to day. Another important step that is essential for consistency is to give yourself ample time to exercise on your scheduled days. If you struggle to find time to workout regularly, consider adjusting your workout days and times. You may also need to rearrange other aspects of your life to find ample time to workout regularly.
Regardless of the type of exercise that you enjoy doing, consistency with your efforts is essential. Consistency provides you with substantial physical and mental health benefits. More than that, it may be easier for you to remain consistent with workouts when you develop a regular workout schedule to follow. In this way, consistency can breed future consistency. If you have struggled to keep up with fitness plans that you have created in the past, you can see that now is the time to improve your efforts and to find the right strategies to remain on track going forward.
Hi, I’m Austin Winder, a Public Relations Specialist and contributing author for Orangetheory Fitness. I live in Memphis, TN and graduated with a business and marketing degree from the University of Memphis.