Physical activity offers many health benefits for individuals in recovery. Even gentle movement can release endorphins, those feel-good hormones that help ward off stress, anxiety, and depression. Whether you’re new to exercise or have a regular fitness routine, setting fitness goals can keep you on track as you work to improve your overall well-being.
Setting Fitness Goals for Self-Improvement
Increasing your activity doesn’t always have to be about weight loss, although that can certainly be another positive result. Rather, setting fitness goals gives you something to strive for and allows you to monitor your improvement on a regular basis.
Many people who have participated in fitness competitions such as road races know that it’s not just about where you end up on the leaderboard, it’s about how well you performed compared to your previous race. When you aim to beat a personal record, you are competing against yourself only and therefore making a commitment to self-improvement.
Choose a Fitness Goal That’s Right for You
There are ways to improve your personal best in just about any activity. For example, if you enjoy strength training, your aim might be to increase the weight you lift or the number of reps. In yoga, you might move on to a more advanced pose as you increase your flexibility with each new session.
To set a fitness goal, choose an activity that interests you and offers room for improvement. For example, let’s say you want to be able to do 20 pushups, but your current arm strength only allows you to complete two or three. Rather than give up, start with one pushup and add another each day until you can easily do 20. You could download an app that will coach you through a fitness challenge (there are countless ones available), or write it down on a calendar so that you can see the date of your future success.
Of course, fitness doesn’t always have to involve sweat. You could also set a goal for something far more relaxing, like meditation. Sitting in silence can be difficult for people to do in the beginning, especially if they are used to being on the go. If this sounds like you, then your goal might be to increase the time you meditate by one minute each session. You could start with a one-minute breathing exercise and add another minute each day until you reach your goal time, such as a half-hour meditation session. It’s not about being able to complete the activity in its entirety from the very start. It’s about making small but steady improvements along the way.
Fitness goals don’t always require coming in first in a competition — although if that is indeed your goal, we’re rooting you on! When you commit to making wellness part of your life, you are making a promise to yourself that you are going to feel better than you did just yesterday.
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