McFarland Clinic

Using "SMART" Fitness Goals to Beat the Holiday Slump

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December 10, 2013

Wintertime is quickly approaching once again, which means it’s time for the holidays, families and tasty treats. It also means the time of year when health and wellness activities tend to fall down the list of daily priorities. One way to beat the holiday slump is to use “SMART” fitness goals. SMART is an acronym for:

S – Specific

M – Measurable

A – Attainable

R – Realistic

T – use a Timeline

A specific goal has a much greater chance of being accomplished than a general goal and establishes concrete criteria for measuring the progress toward the goal. When you identify goals that are most important to you, you begin to figure you ways you can make them come true. The goal must represent an objective toward which you are both willing and able to work. A goal should be grounded within a time frame. When there is no sense of urgency, often goals are not met. 
 
To set a specific goal you must answer the six “W” questions: who, what where, when, which, why.
 
Examples of SMART goals include: To be more active this holiday season, my sister and I will join the local Walk to Wellness group in December and walk two Wednesday’s a month at 6:00 am. We will continue the program through March.
 
Here are some additional helpful tips from you friendly physical therapists about how to remain active this winter.
 
Want to avoid the cold? Some great ways to stay active include buying an exercise video, joining a fitness class, choosing the stairs over the elevator, meeting up with friends to go shopping or taking an extra lap at the grocery store. 
Another great tip is to exercise during commercial breaks of television shows. The average hour long television program contains between 16 and 21 minutes worth of commercials. Try choosing simple exercises such as squats, leg lifts or push-up and complete one exercise throughout the length of a commercial break. This provides a good workout while enjoying your favorite shows.
 
Want to embrace the cold? If you are feeling brave, bundle up and start your walking or running program in the snow. Trudging through snow drifts is a good way to add extra resistance. Other fun winter activities to try include snow shoeing, hiking, sledding, ice skating or cross country skiing. Whatever activity you choose, try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week.
 
Make fitness a community effort. There are people in your community who are improving their health by simply increasing the walking in their life. Walk to Wellness is a local initiative to encourage community members to get out and walk. The walks are every Wednesday at 6:00 am and 6:00 pm at the Carroll track or inside the Carroll Recreation Center if the weather is bad. Try getting a group of friends together to walk or meeting someone new while improving your health.
 
Improve Iowa’s fitness. On a state level, starting this January, there is a way to get your family and friends involved in improving health with the 10 week wellness challenge. The challenge is from January 27 through April 4 through the Live Healthy Iowa. The program includes incentives and prizes for weight loss and activity hours with online tracking available and resources for recipes and general health information. At the end of the program, there is an optional walk in Carroll available to show off your achievements with your team and family members. This is an excellent opportunity to set an example and be a role model. 
 
Safety tips for exercising outdoors:
  1. Wear wind resistant, insulated gear, many lightweight options available. May want face and hands covered. 
  2. If properly dressed, stay outdoors a maximum of 30 minutes depending on temperature. 
  3. If it is below freezing or if there is a significant wind-chill, stay inside or limit exposure to wind. 

 

For More Information:

For more information on the McFarland Clinic Physical Therapy Department in Carroll call 712-792-3311.

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