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January 11, 2024 · By Dr. Renee Rogers

The secret to making a workout plan that sticks

Our Experts Science-Backing WondrTips

Create an enjoyable, doable workout plan that works for you

By: Renee Rogers, PhD, FACSM

Are you feeling inspired to get moving in the new year? Ready to commit to some “active” resolutions?

We love to hear it! The benefits of physical activity for your mind and body are remarkable. At the same time, we know that many folks begin the year with workout resolutions, only to find themselves discouraged by February. The truth is that this happens to the best of us when we start out with a plan that fails us. The trick to making this year different? Starting out with a realistic plan—one with clear, doable goals that actually work for YOU. How do you do that?

Use our evidence-based M-O-V-E strategy as your blueprint:

Minutes per week: Start with a goal of 50 – 100 minutes of activity per week (that’s about 10-14minutes per day!). If you’re not sure where to start, consider your current fitness level and what could reasonably fit into your work and family schedule. Then, gradually up your weekly minutes until you reach 150 minutes. This is key: Make your increases in small, 10-minute increments instead of large jumps. Drastic changes can be hard on your body and tough to manage when life gets busy. It should feel like you’re coasting up a ramp, not trudging up Mount Everest.

Over 3-5 days: Rather than packing all your activity minutes into one or two days a week, spread them out over multiple days. That way, you’ll more regularly receive the short-term benefits of activity, like its impact on energy, mood, metabolism, and other health factors. Plus, it’s a safer approach for your body and helps you avoid injury and extreme muscle fatigue and soreness. We recommend aiming for 3-5 days per week, but choose a number that’s realistic for you.

Vary duration: Breaking your activity minutes into shorter bouts can be a game changer. I’m going to reveal a couple of fitness research secrets here. This first one’s really important. It turns out you can get the same benefits from dividing your minutes into brief bouts as you would from putting them all into long workouts.That means three 10-minute bouts of activity are just as beneficial as a single, thirty-minute one.Short rounds give you more flexibility, too. It might be hard to imagine getting 30+ minutes of movement in your workday, but how about 10 minutes? Looking for inspiration? The Body-Mind Breaks and Wondr Workouts in the Explore Library are an excellent place to start. You’ll find short routines, stretches, and movements you can do anytime, any day.

Enjoy: Pick a physical activity you really enjoy rather than one you think is the “right” thing to do. This is the most important part of your plan! People who do activities they love stick with it longer. Movement that gives back to you even beyond the health benefits. Hate to run? Don’t run. What do you love to do? Is it walking your dog, swimming, salsa dancing? Go on a treasure hunt for physical activities that are personally satisfying to you.

The most powerful thing you can do is move activity from your“to do” list to your “I can’t wait to do” list.

So, as you consider setting movement goals for 2024, run through each letter of M-O-V-E and make some notes on what could work best for you and your body -not what you think you “should” do. Then, you’ll be well on your way to starting your new year with activity that truly works for you and your long-term goals.

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