With each New Year comes the determination to begin exercising. Was that one of your New Year resolutions? We are well into the year now, so how are you going with that? A little accountability goes a long way. If your efforts at exercising are not going as well as you had planned, take a look at these tips. They might help get you back on track.
One: Schedule Time for Exercise
Fail to plan = Plan to fail. It sounds clichéd indeed, but it’s true. I have discussed this in more detail in the Winning Psychology Manual. As you would a meeting or a doctor appointment, sometimes the only way to make time to exercise is to put it on your daily schedule. We’ve all got busy lives and we’re often so busy taking care of others that we never seem to make time for ourselves.
Once exercise becomes part of your daily To-Do list, you’re more likely to do it. Some people have only a certain time during the day available for exercise while others will have to vary the time each day. Some people need a nudge and so for them, exercising with a friend is a good solution. Choose whichever way works best for you. Just remember to actually go and do it!
Two: Do Something You Enjoy, Or At Least Tolerate
Remember how the first point starts? Well, part of a good plan is to incorporate long-term sustainable measures. From talking with many people, doing exercises that one does not like is not sustainable. You know, exercise doesn’t have to mean spending hours at the gym peddling away on a stationary bike. It doesn’t mean you have to spend money on exercise gadgets you will likely never use either.
The fact is that anything you do to get your body moving is going to be better than doing nothing. That is why I talk about gentle exercise during rest-days in the Lifelong Fitness Blueprint. Walking is an easy exercise that you can do just about anywhere in any climate. Bike riding, dancing, gardening, weight lifting, swimming, playing a favourite sport, and even playing with your children are just some of the ways you can add exercise into your daily routine.
Three: Mix It Up
Another often-neglected element of making an exercise plan is the lack of variety. Like anything that is done over and over again, exercise can become mundane, even if it is an activity you like. When you get bored with exercising, you’re less likely to keep at it. After all, you will start viewing it as a chore.
To keep from getting bored with your workout routine, change it from time to time. If you’re tired of walking, try cycling. If you’re into weight lifting, try alternating this with cardiovascular exercises throughout the week. Go bowling or play a game of tennis once in a while, and if you find you enjoy these types of activities, join a team. Variation is an essential part of a solid exercise plan.
Four: Invigorate With Exercise
We’ve all been there – scheduling an exercise session late in the day, then feeling too tired to even get started. For me, this isn’t an issue as I exercise first thing in the morning. For some of you night owls, this is the only feasible way to include some exercise in. Fair enough – I’m not here to judge. Do whatever works.
Even though you might feel too tired to exercise, just bite the bullet and give it a try anyway. It just takes a bit of a spark. At least go slow to begin with. You might be surprised to find how energised you feel while you’re at it and afterwards when you’re finished. Exercise is a great stress-reliever too and if you know anything about stress, you know that it is one of the body’s biggest energy-sappers.
Five: Always Begin By Warming Up
I cannot emphasize this enough, which is why I make a big deal of it in the Lifelong Fitness Blueprint. Regardless of the type of exercise you choose, it is very important that you begin each session by warming up your muscles. Stretching helps prevent damage to muscle tissue and it gets your blood flowing. It gets your heart pumping too. Just five minutes is all it takes to get your exercise session off to a good start.
Alrighty, simple, isn’t it? Sometimes, all you need is a little bit of a kick-start, that’s all! A bonus tip I have is that if you, or someone you know, is significantly overweight and feeling that it is hopeless and pointless, stop feeling that way. Instead, start off with simple exercise, such as walking. Over time, and as the kilos drop off, you will build momentum and then you get healthier. Of course, to those who are serious, give the Granite Fitness Masterclass a shot!
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Also published on Medium.
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