The pressure to “get in shape” or maintain a certain body type can be overwhelming. We are flooded with unrealistic expectations of what a fitness journey should look like. Fitness, however, is just that - a journey. If you are looking to establish an exercise routine, I encourage you to ask yourself these questions.

1. Why Should I Start?

Consider what you are looking to gain from your exercise routine. Is your goal to build muscle, or increase your cardiac endurance? Maybe you are striving to improve your physical health by losing weight or lowering your blood pressure. Try writing down these goals to keep yourself accountable.

2. What Should I Do?

Research has proven the benefits of traditional exercises, such as weightlifting, running, or yoga. However, expand your view of fitness by incorporating other types of exercises into your daily life. Go on a walk with a friend or try a group fitness class. Remember that any movement is a step towards a better you. 

3. How Will I Maintain It?

Maintaining your new routine is often the hardest part. It may take months to form a habit and see results. On the days that you want to quit, remember why you started. Take time to reflect on your goals and be proud of the progress you are making towards them. Be kind to yourself and remember that progress is not always linear. You will never regret showing up for yourself - I know I never have.

Ivy Snellgrove, 25, is a Mississippi native who moved to Birmingham in 2021. She is a registered nurse at Children’s of Alabama. She enjoys group fitness classes at LifeTime Fitness in Vestavia.