Healthy Beginnings

Sustainability in Exercise

What is it that inspires someone to not just start a fitness program, but maintain the program for the long term? Most people know the positive benefits of having a fitness routine and many want to have one, yet figuring out how to fit exercise into a busy schedule can be daunting.

A good fitness program should be mentally and physically stimulating. While repetition will produce results, redundancy can be uninspiring. Is it the exercise routine itself that prevents us from achieving our fitness goals, or it is the discouraging, internal dialogue that often occurs?

The dialogue that many people experience when they begin to stray from fitness desires and goals includes: “I can no longer make the time,” “I’m too exhausted” or “I don’t have the money.” Let’s face it, what we’re lacking is the dedication to persevere, and the foresight to believe in the positive changes that occur throughout our physical and emotional selves. What if we changed the dialogue in a way that cultivated more patience for progress and ultimately commit forevermore to living a healthy life? Here are some thoughts on creating a sustainable fitness routine:

  1. Be adaptable and open-minded. Try new things. If you’re not sure where to start, consider working with a trainer. A knowledgeable and compassionate trainer should be able to design a program that will be physically and mentally challenging. With this in mind, start slow to develop a solid, balanced foundation. A calculated approach can help reduce the risk of injury. Sample a variety of cardiovascular and strength training techniques and keep track of the exercises you dislike the least. A good trainer can provide you with guidance and a clear path toward your goal. They can also show you how to keep it interesting so that you might just start looking forward to your workout.
  1. As you develop strength and endurance, pay attention to your body. Depending upon wear and tear, you may notice a nagging shoulder, stiff knee or an achy back. All of these complaints are very common. Whether a lifelong athlete or newcomer to a fitness routine, aging causes our bodies to break down, especially in the absence of stimulation. Now is the time to have the painful areas examined and adapt your training accordingly. Your body may not be able to perform the same exercises as it did during youth. You may need to vary your approach and reconsider training decisions that support a fitness program that is sustainable forevermore.

Challenge yourself within your physical boundaries. Above all, be patient and loving with yourself. Neither our bodies nor our minds are designed to be stagnant. Get up and get moving.

Jessica Ogan is an IFA and NCCPT certified personal trainer at The Change Place in Carson City. She has a passion for both spiritual and physical health, as well as clean, organic eating. Jessica is currently taking new clients. She can be reached at 775-220-7722 or