How to Create a Sustainable Exercise Plan for 2021

by Nicole Abigail

The start of a new year brings with it an opportunity to make lifestyle changes–especially around physical activity. For many, that means starting an exercise plan and sticking to it–but making it sustainable is key to seeing long-term results. Here’s a few tips on how to create a sustainable exercise plan for 2021.

1. Set Specific Goals

Setting specific goals for yourself is the first step in creating an actionable plan that is easy to stick to. Ask yourself, “What do I want to achieve? How will I measure my progress? What’s a realistic timeframe?“ Be sure to make your goals specific and attainable.

2. Get the Right Gear

Investing in the right gear can make a huge difference in how comfortable and successful you are with an exercise plan. From the best Running Shoes to the fitness tracking app that is right for you, make the research to find get the right gear that will make your workouts easier and more successful.

3. Create a Schedule & Stick To It

Creating a schedule and sticking to it is the only way to keep your plan sustainable. Set aside specific days and times for your workouts and make sure to allocate enough time for it.

4. Change It Up

Mixing it up when it comes to your workouts is important to keep you engaged and interested in your exercises. This can mean changing the type of exercise you are doing, or the intensity and duration.

5. Track Your Progress

Tracking your progress can be a great motivator when it comes to staying on track with your plan. Keeping a progress sheet and recording your improvements, or investing in a fitness tracker or monitoring app is a great way to stay on top of your progress.

6. Reward Yourself

Last but not least, don’t forget to reward yourself for staying on track! Whether it’s a new fitness outfit or a massage, reward yourself to stay motivated and on track.

Creating and sticking to a sustainable exercise plan in 2021 can have a huge impact on your overall wellbeing. By following these tips, you’ll be on your way to feeling and looking amazing in the new year.

What exercises are best for sustainable results over the long term?

1. Strength Training: exercises like squats, deadlifts, bench presses, and overhead presses are great for building strength and improving muscle tone over the long term.

2. Cardiovascular Exercise: Running, cycling, swimming, or any other form of sustained aerobic exercise will help keep your heart and lungs healthy and get your body in shape.

3. Yoga: the practice of yoga is known to improve posture, increase flexibility, and help improve your mental wellbeing.

4. Pilates: similar to yoga, Pilates is designed to help strengthen your muscles, improve balance, and promote overall body health.

5. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): HIIT combines short bursts of intense exercise with less intense recovery periods, which can help you burn fat and stay in shape.

What workouts should I do to stay in shape long-term?

1. Strength Training: Aim for 2-3 days of strength training per week focusing on all major muscle groups.

2. Cardio: Try to include at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise—or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise—per week. Aim for shorter, more intense sessions for maximum benefit.

3. Flexibility: Incorporate regular stretching into your weekly routine. Target major muscle groups and focus on post-workout stretches.

4. Core Workouts: A strong core helps improve posture and stability. Include exercises like planks, mountain climbers, and bird dogs into your weekly routine.

5. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT): HIIT includes short bursts of intense activity followed by a short period of rest or recovery. Try adding some HIIT into your weekly routine for a challenging and time-efficient workout.

What are the benefits of long-term exercise?

1. Increased Cardiovascular Endurance: Regular, sustained exercise strengthens the heart, allowing it to work more efficiently, pumping more oxygen-rich blood throughout the body.

2. Improved Metabolism: Regular exercise helps to increase an individual’s basal metabolic rate. This means that your body will burn more calories even when resting.

3. Increased Muscle Strength and Endurance: Long-term physical activity helps to build lean muscle mass, which increases strength and endurance.

4. Improved Bone Health: Regular exercise helps promote bone health and can reduce risk of fractures. This is especially beneficial for osteoporosis prevention.

5. Improved Mood: Research has shown that regular exercise can help to improve mood and reduce symptoms of depression.

6. Improved Balance And Coordination: Regular exercise helps to improve balance and coordination, reducing risk of falls.

7. Weight Control: Long-term exercise helps to maintain a healthy weight, reduce body fat, and improve body composition.

8. Reduced Stress: Exercise helps to improve mental clarity and can help reduce stress.

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