Why Set Fitness Goals?
Fitness goals are the bedrock of healthy, successful fitness over 50 exercise and workout programs. Studies show that you are ten times more likely to stick with a workout routine that has tangible objectives to work towards as opposed to no specific goals at all. In this article I want to show you how setting these goals can actually be done quite simply and offer you a few tips to increase your chances of success.
First of all let me emphasize that I believe that you can only fail if you quit. If something doesn’t work out as you planned just step back for a moment, access where you got off track and devise a technique to overcome or avoid that particular thing from getting in your way the next time. Remember that everybody, even the world’s best athletes, have setbacks. What sets them apart is the commitment to keep at it until they achieve success.
The S.M.A.R.T. way to reaching your fitness goals
I think the best way to set and reach your fitness goals (or almost any other kind of objective for that matter) is to use the S.M.A.R.T. method. What is S.M.A.R.T. ? Glad you asked.
No one really knows who coined the acronym S.M.A.R.T., in fact if you look around you’ll find that there isn’t really an agreement on exactly what each of the letters represent. For our purposes of achieving better health and fitness the letters can mean;
S = Specific, M = Measurable, A = Action- , R = Realistic, T = Time Bound
We can also add the letters E = Engaging and R = Reevaluate to make the mnemonic S.M.A.R.T.E.R.
Lets take a look at how we can use this tried and proven method of goal achievement in our approach to better health.
First our goals must be SPECIFIC and personal. Are you trying to lose weight or lower your BMI? If your goal is to be fit over 50 then maybe you want to slow the natural aging processes of loss of muscle mass and coordination not to mention the fact that a regular exercise routine can help reduce your odds of getting a number of different illnesses and ailments that accompany getting older. The more specific you are about what it is that you want to achieve the more likely that you’ll be able to come up with an exact plan that’ll ensure .
When you’ve decided what your specific goals are next figure out what SPECIFICALLY you have to do to make it happen. If it’s weight loss then you’ll need to have a plan to burn more calories than you consume and raising your BMR. Increasing muscle mass? Maybe a routine that leans more towards resistance training is what you need. Increase your flexibility? You might try yoga or Pilates. Get my point? There is no one size fits all fitness program. First you must decide what it is that YOU want and then do your research to find out the best way for you to get it.
Next up is MEASURABLE. We have to know if what we’re doing is working – and if it’s working at a reasonable rate. This requires us to begin by knowing exactly where we are and exactly where we wish to be in the future. There are a few different tools that can be used to measure how fit we are right now and these same tools can be used over time to track our progress. The right tool for you will depend on what you decided in the previous step that your specific goal would be.
A good place to start is getting an idea of where you land on the Body Mass Index chart. It gives you an idea of what percentage of your total body weight is fat and what percentage is muscle. Another good place to visit is the website set up by the Mayo Clinic that has a number of different tests that measure your fitness level.
You could also consider joining a gym. Any good facility will be able to give you an accessment of your current state of physical fitness and also provide you with a plan and some tips on how to reach your desired level of fitness.
It’s important to use these same tools periodically to see how you’re progressing (or not) and make any needed adjustments to your routine if your results aren’t satisfactory.
Next is where the rubber meets the road – ACTION. Time to get moving! You’ve decided what your specific, personal fitness goals are, you’re done your research and determined just what routines or workouts will deliver your desired results and you know just where you are according to the fitness charts and where you’d like to be. The only thing left is to take that first step. Before you do this though lets make sure that your goals are REALISTIC and TIME BOUND.
REALISTIC – This is sometimes the most difficult part of the S.M.A.R.T. equation. When deciding exactly what our goals are we must make honest choices that are our own and not someone elses. Do you REALLY want to lose 50 pounds or would you be happy with losing just 10. Do you REALLY want to go to the gym 5 – 7 times a week or will 2 – 3 b okay for now. Is working towards that big marathon next year the thing for you or will you feel accomplished doing a 3 miler? It’s also important that your goals can be manageable with your lifestyle. Setting goals that are too big can be the source of a lot of stress and therefore are often abandoned early. Do you have any health or mobility issues that may prevent or delay you from acheiving the goals you set? If you haven’t exercised in a long time you may want to see your doctor before undertaking a new fitness program. I have often seen someone start a new program with a lot of enthusiasm only to be put out of comission early by injury that could have been avoided had they been more realistic and started slowly. This is where realizing that setbacks are realistic part of your progress. Don’t quit, simply readjust.
And lastly are your goals TIME BOUND? I like to have 3 sets of goals. Weekly, 3 months and yearly, your’s may be different but you get the idea. Short term, medium and long term. It always helps acheive a goal when there is a sense of accomplishment attached. Fitness goals are lifelong and therefore never finished so attaching these time bound acheivements gives you a sense of accomplishment and also something to build on to reach reach even loftier goals!