Fitness is a goal almost everyone has mentioned to us. While eating right, getting enough rest, and other factors are important, the main element of becoming more fit is exercise. Instead of considering exercise a chore to be checked off your list, try these tips for making it an ongoing habit that fits into your healthy lifestyle.
image courtesy of Body Glove wetsuits
1. Make exercise enjoyable – Do you hate jogging? That’s ok. Find something you DO enjoy. One of the benefits of living near the relatively warm waters of the Gulf is that you can easily enjoy your favorite watersports all year round by wearing a wetsuit. Or maybe you love dancing? You might like to try a slide aerobics class? Instead of thinking of exercise as a chore, look for opportunities to have fun being active!
2. Vary your routine – Some people can get into an exercise routine and love it, but most of us tend to get bored or burned out after days or weeks of doing the same-old same old. Try varying your activities week to week, or even within the same week, whatever suits your interest level. Even something as simple as adding music, or a change of scenery can be beneficial. I stepped up my jogging by running on the beach, just below the tideline, or in knee-deep water for great resistance and it really renewed my interest as well.
3. Exercise with a friend – Having a friend along can be the best motivator for many of us, and often a competitive spirit emerges that helps boost your effort as well as your motivation. Remember that even man’s best friend makes a good exercise companion; I used to love to go hiking with my dog, and your pet will benefit from the extra activity as well.
4. Make time in your schedule – Make exercise a priority, enough so that you schedule it on a regular basis. Maybe first thing in the morning to get you going, or perhaps the gym or your favorite park is on your way home from work. Don’t just say “I’m going to exercise 30 minutes a day” but decide WHEN you are going to do it, and commit to your plan. Then when the inevitable happens and “things come up” they won’t sidetrack you. And on those days when you are “too tired” … well, unless it is illness making you not want to exercise, JUST DO IT anyway!
5. Reward yourself – There are lots of ways to do this. Keep a log of your exercise, and leave space at the bottom to jot down benefits that you notice. Most likely you will be finding that you sleep better at night, you feel more refreshed in the morning, you find it easier to stick to your diet, your mind is clearer, your clothes are getting looser. Take time to read over those tidbits in order to fuel your motivation. Also plan to reward yourself for goal milestones as well. Promise to reward yourself for exercising 5 days a week for two weeks by purchasing an item of clothing, or maybe at the end of a month's faithful exercising you will enjoy a bit of pampering at a day spa!
The key to fitness is making exercise a regular habit. If you can stick with it until it becomes a way of life, you will achieve your goal of improved fitness. More than that, you will be well on your way to enjoying better health for the rest of your life.