You’ve likely seen them popping up on social media: a month-long plank challenge, a 30-day squat challenge or a workout calendar focused on core exercises. While a 30-day fitness challenge may sound daunting, experts say that they can be the best way to get back into shape or try a new exercise. Challenges add structure to a workout routine, can help you stick with a new habit and can help you connect with a community. And if done correctly, they can help you see long-term results, according to experts.
Whether you’re looking to lose weight, tone your muscles or build strength, exercise is important for everyone. But it’s hard to get moving when life gets in the way or you simply don’t have the energy. Exercise can also improve chronic health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. Plus, it can boost your self-esteem and reduce stress levels.
That’s why it’s important to set a goal and stick with it, even if that means taking baby steps at first. Experts agree that it takes 66 days to form new habits, so starting small and building up from there is key. And, according to a recent article in Health Club Management magazine, fitness challenges can be the best way to get members into a healthy mindset and increase retention.
While 30-day fitness challenges are popular in January and closer to summer, they can be done at any time of the year and don’t have to focus on changing your physical appearance. In fact, focusing on non-scale goals like getting stronger or trying a new type of workout can be just as beneficial to your body and mind.
Challenges for exercising your body can range from walking challenges to high intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts. For example, a walk challenge can be as simple as tracking your daily steps on your fitness tracker, while a HIIT workout could consist of short bursts of cardio mixed with strength training or plyometric exercises such as jumping rope or jump squats.
Whatever your preference, experts say that it’s important to start slow and listen to your body. If you’re new to exercise, a HIIT challenge might be too challenging or even dangerous if you haven’t built up your strength and endurance.
It’s also a good idea to find an accountability buddy. Checking in with someone to hold you accountable and encourage you to complete your daily tasks is essential, especially if you’re struggling to stay on track. And don’t forget to take a day off when you need it. After all, a rested body is a more productive one.
Milena Estêvão is a YouTuber passionate about sharing her experiences (challenges, successes and motivations) in the fitness activities she is involved in.
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