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New year, new decade, new you

Exercise can take many forms – from gym workouts to dance classes. [Adobestock photo]

Exercise. Needing it is the one thing that everyone agrees on, but life is so busy. When you workout, you want to know your effort is being maximized and you want to have fun.

One sure way to avoid exercise burnout and maximize fitness gain is taking advice from a fitness pro. Sign up for lessons with a personal trainer, join a dance class, begin the journey toward mastering a martial art and don’t forget to schedule in some rest and recreation, preferably with fun exercise – hiking, biking, canoeing – built in.

It’s a new year, a new decade. What better time to start working toward a new you? Here are six ways to help you achieve physical fitness success in 2020 and beyond.

Gaining confidence

Let’s face it, the No. 1 reason people avoid the gym is intimidation. Not from the other patrons, but from the equipment that’s there to help you succeed. A personal trainer can help you become confident in performing specific exercises, using machines and understanding your body’s response and warning signals.

Avoiding injury

You’ve heard the expression “no pain, no gain.” But a good instructor can help you avoid pain while maximizing gain. When learning how to master a new skill, it’s vital that you learn how to do so in a safe, effective manner. As with most things in life, there’s a right way to move your body and a wrong way. Trial and error can lead to unnecessarily sore muscles and sometimes significant injuries.

Combatting excuses

Speaking of injury, medical conditions are one of the most often repeated excuses for why a person can’t participate in a physical activity. But exercise – in all its many forms – is beneficial for preventing and managing many common chronic conditions. Diabetes, heart disease, hypertension – none of these are good excuses for not exercising, but each does require additional precautions. If you have special concerns about your health, do choose a professional that has experience in working with clients who have chronic conditions. And never start any form of strenuous exercise without consulting your physician. Working with your physician and a qualified instructor can help you design a program that ensures your safety and provides a positive exercise experience.

Maintaining motivation

When are you most likely to repeat a behavior? When you feel consistently confident. Confidence breeds motivation and personal trainers are champs at instilling confidence. One reason is that they hold you accountable. It’s easy to skip the gym when no one is waiting for you. But when you know that someone is waiting, not only to help you through the hard parts but also to cheer your victories, it’s worth showing up.

Achieving goals

Maybe your goal is to drop 20 pounds, maybe it’s to achieve self-discipline, maybe it’s to dance the night away, or take charge of a chronic ailment. Whatever it is, you know the saying: Every great “why” deserves a great “how.” In other words, you need a plan. Don’t just join a gym because it’s January. Give some thought to what you really want to achieve and who might be best positioned to help you achieve that goal.

Having fun

When you choose the right setting and the right instructor, exercise can become – dare we say it – fun. And that’s the best motivation of all.

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