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When you're active, you look and feel your best.

Working out can boost your mood (hello endorphins!) and can even lower your risk for type 2 diabetes, heart attacks, and high blood pressure. 

That sounds pretty awesome if you ask us. However, we know it can be hard to stick to a habit of regular physical activity. 

Daily life and busy schedules leave you with little energy and motivation to get moving consistently. And even if you do manage to get started with a more active lifestyle, you are more likely to abandon your new workout regime if you pursue an activity that doesn't suit your mood, preferences or lifestyle.

Luckily, sticking to a workout can be accomplished by identifying your preferences, goals, and daily constraints and choosing an activity that fits your personality, needs and motivation.

Here are four questions to ask yourself when picking a new workout activity that will ensure you consistently show up and get moving:

What are your health goals? 

While any type of physical activity is good for you, different physical activities offer different results. That's why setting some goals can help you steer you towards the right type of physical activity and can help you stay motivated on the days when you would rather lounge on the couch. 

If your main goal is weight management, activities such as walking, running, weight training or cycling are great because they help spike your metabolism and help burn calories.

It's also easy to track the improvement in your physical performance for these activities which will help you stay motivated as you move closer to reaching your goal. 

However, if your goal is to improve your strength, balance, and flexibility, hopping onto the mat for a yoga or pilates session is a great fit for you. 

What is your style of physical activity? 

Matching your new activity to your energy level, interests and moods will also help you stay motivated to keep it up regularly. So ask yourself:

Do you prefer activities that also involve a little competition and mental challenge or do you prefer to get out of your head and into the zone with music and steady breathing? Many team or two-person sports give your brain a bit of a mental workout as well as your body because you need to stay focused and strategize over what your next move should be.

If you'd rather minimize thinking and let your body do the work, try yoga classes, swimming laps or going for a walk, jog, or leisurely-paced bike ride.

Are you a team player or prefer to go solo?

Choosing a sport that suits your personality also depends on how organized or casual you want the activity to be. If you like structure with a routine start time or regime to follow, team sports or group workout classes are great. Bonus: the social aspect of group-based workouts can add an extra level of fun or healthy competition to your workout.  

Also, most multi-person sports, like tennis or volleyball, quickly build cardiovascular health because of the quick bursts of activity from running or hitting a ball. 

However, the benefits of group activity don’t necessarily outweigh exercising alone. If your busy schedule prevents you from committing to a specific time every day, cycling or distance running is great for anyone who would prefer a solo workout. 

What shape are you in?

The stop-start nature of many multiplayer sports can be strenuous on your body. This can increase the risk of injury, particularly in your knees and ankles, so it’s best to start off easy playing with someone whose fitness level matches yours. 

When you’re a beginner, start off with light activity and up the challenge as your strength and endurance improves. Remember speed walking can lead to jogging which will become distance running over time. And before all else, consult your healthcare practitioner, whether a Medical Doctor or Physiotherapist, to ensure your body is ready to perform without risk of injury.

The Takeaway

No matter what, enjoyment is the key to maintaining consistent activity levels and reaching your health goals.  Don’t be afraid to mix things up by trying two or three activities to keep things interesting or until you find one that makes you consistently eager to move. 

By focusing on finding activities that match your motivation, personality, goals and lifestyle, you’ll find it easy to stay committed to your new sport, keep your activity levels up, ACE your performance, and reap the health benefits over time.

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