By Wanda Marie Thibodeaux
The emotional, social and physical benefits of exercise are hardly debatable, but making workouts a regular part of your lifestyle still can be challenging. To get into the swing of a fitness routine for the first time, or to push yourself for better consistency, try these handy tricks.
1) Take a hard look at your schedule.
Look realistically at where you have blocks of time during the week, and pick workouts that make sense for those windows of opportunity. Be honest with yourself about your tendencies here. You might not want to schedule a sweat fest at 4:00 a.m., for example, if you know you need five cups of coffee just to get out of your pajamas.
2) Prepare what you need in advance.
With everything for your workout ready to go, you’ll have little excuse for not doing the exercise you told yourself you were going to do. You’ll also feel less rushed and on top of it, which can carry over into how present and aggressive you are in your exercises. That matters, in turn, because you’ll enjoy the sessions more and get results faster, making it more likely you’ll stick with your program.
3) Find buddies.
If you commit to working out with a friend, you’ll feel more obligated to get to the gym. Even if you can’t find someone to exercise with right in Minneapolis, MN, sharing your goals and experiences in your social circles or media channels can give you the accountability and support you need to be consistent with your workouts.
4) Put variety into what you’re doing.
Select plenty of different activities you enjoy and play around with your intensity levels so you stay excited for the next routine. Bonus? Variety keeps your body guessing, helping to prevented dreaded plateaus.
5) Track your progress.
By writing down what you do, tracking calories, miles or other metrics, you can look back and say, “Hey, I did that!” or “I’m halfway to Goal X!” You can also use tracking to make working out more fun, such as seeing if you’ve jogged all the way to your favorite city, or to meet personal or group challenges.
6) Reward yourself!
If you’re going to work out, recognize the fact you did work! Although it’s not a great idea to treat yourself to an all-day fast food binge or kick back the drinks until you’re tipsy, a healthy splurge, such as going for a Swedish or sports massage or taking the day off work to do something fun, can keep you motivated.
Getting into a workout routine can be a tough cookie to chew, but with determination and a good game plan, you can do it. Best of all, you don’t have to wait to get your routine started. Make the decision today to include exercise in your life and see the difference it can make!