It’s never too late to set yourself some fitness goals. Just by quitting smoking, your health may already be improving day by day, and within just 2-12 weeks, your circulation will have improved, making exercise easier.
If you’re looking to make the most of quitting, setting yourself some realistic fitness goals can boost your motivation and give you something meaningful to work towards.
Here are five fitness milestones to complement any quit journey.
1. Choose the stairs
If walking up the stairs leaves you feeling drained and out of breath, then being strict about avoiding the convenience of the elevator should be your first fitness milestone. After quitting smoking, you should find that, within time, you’re able to breathe more easily. Take advantage of this, and set yourself the challenge of always choosing the stairs over the lift.
Making a simple change like this can help you to start strengthening your core muscles and improve your breathing technique, meaning it’s great preparation for engaging in other aerobic activities later on in your fitness journey.
2. Make the most of your lunch break
Walking a mile might sound like a mammoth task, but just remember that, at an average walking speed, a mile will take between 20 and 30 minutes to complete. This means that even if you’re starting at a slower-than-average speed, you should be able to complete a mile within your lunch hour and still have time to eat!
Try to work up to maintaining a moderate walking pace without having to stop for rest. Walking briskly for 30 minutes per day, at least 5 days a week, comes with a host of day-to-day benefits, including feeling fitter, more energised, and feeling less stressed.
3. Lace up your running shoes
Going for a run can sound daunting, especially to a beginner. But now that you can comfortably walk a mile, you’re ready to give running a go.
Finding a beginners’ running schedule can give you some helpful guidance on how to get started. The key to building up your stamina is to alternate between running and walking. Then, over the next few weeks, slowly increase the amount of time you spend running until you can maintain a steady pace without stopping or slowing down.
Remember, you don’t have to run so fast that you’re finding yourself gasping for air. As a beginner, try to maintain a pace that allows you can hold a conversation.
4. Join a fitness class
Have you always wanted to join a gym, but worry about your fitness? Whether you want to perfect the “downward dog” in yoga, or get a sweat on at spin class, a group exercise class is a great way to get in the habit of going to the gym.
In a class, you’ll have a chance to meet other people and actually have fun. Working out with others also provides a level of accountability, meaning you’ll be less tempted to skip the gym and spend an evening on the sofa. You’ll benefit from a boost to your motivation too, as you push yourself harder to keep up with the group.
5. Train for an event
After you’ve achieved your first few milestones, it’s common to hit a roadblock in your fitness journey.
If you’re finding yourself hitting snooze on the alarm clock more often than you’re finding yourself at the gym, then don’t worry. An easy way to overcome this plateau is to set yourself a concrete goal to work towards.
Registering for an organised race is a great way to set a goal. Pick a distance that’s attainable, but not easy, so you know you’ll have to train. Whether it’s a one-mile fun run or a half marathon, the feeling of achievement when you cross the finish line will have you signing up for another in no time.