3 Key Steps for Long-Term Fitness Success

Fitness influencer Joan MacDonald shares the lessons she’s learned along her fitness journey that can help you succeed in yours.

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Posted in , Jul 29, 2021

Woman in her golden years enjoying a walk; Getty Images

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We’ve all been there. We eagerly begin a new fitness routine only to have our motivation fizzle out when life gets in the way. Once the enthusiasm fades, it’s hard to remain committed, and then the healthy habits you worked so hard to keep stop altogether.

The good news is that it’s never too late to get “back on the wagon.” Seventy-five-year-old Joan MacDonald, who went from carrying added pounds and declining health to fitness guru, proves that you have another chance to start again. “I’ve never had any formal exercise,” she says, but that didn’t deter her from making significant life changes to get back into shape. Her simple but consistent approach is something from which we can all learn. Here are three motivators from MacDonald’s journey that can lead you on the road to success and a healthier you.

Set Goals

Ever heard the phrase, “What gets measured gets done”? Start by writing a list of goals you want to accomplish to keep yourself accountable. This will also help you measure your progress. For example, MacDonald initially focused on losing 30 pounds so that she could safely stop her medications. Instead, she ended up losing 45-50 pounds and was off her medications within nine months.

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Make Time for Exercise

“I exercise in the morning to get my endorphins going, so I’m happier as the day goes along,” she says. While you don’t need to follow her early schedule, it is important to set aside time to work out. If you have a busy schedule, you might feel guilty spending time like this, but know self-care isn’t selfish and goes a long way toward maintaining a healthful life, especially as you age.

Don’t Slow Down

As you grow older, you may lose interest in staying active. But “a body in motion stays in motion,” according to Newton’s Law. MacDonald understands the risk of being complacent. “I know if I stop, it’s hard to get started again,” so she works at staying consistent with regular exercise. Varying your routine or branching out to try new activities and equipment are some easy ways to avoid getting bored.

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