Regular exercise is one of the most important activities to promote good health. A good habit of exercising will allow for good health, a better immune system, and longer life thanks to a healthier heart. So with all of the reasons out there for starting good exercise habits, why is it so difficult to get ourselves motivated to exercise? For the past few decades our lives have become so cluttered with school, work, family, shopping, movies, television, sports, and the millions of other activities out there that most of us think it is impossible to find 30 minutes every day to exercise. Here are a few tips to overcome these challenges and begin your path to a healthier life:
1. Recognize that it is not going to be easy.
One of the reasons that most people don’t stick with their workout routines is that they assume they can easily find the time every day to exercise. People who assume the task is easy often stop workout out once they realize that finding 15 to 30 minutes of free time every day is not easy. Before beginning to write up your proposed exercise schedule, write a note on the top of your paper that will remind yourself of why you are doing this. No matter what your reason is for wanting to get into shape, you need to remind yourself on a regular basis that it is more important than sleeping in or watching television. If you are able to recognize that your task is going to be difficult and you still want to get into a good habit, then you can be assured that you have the necessary desires to get into the regular habit of exercising.
2. Set small goals to begin with.
You are not going to be Mr. or Ms. Universe within a week so don’t try to set the same goals that they have. If your goal is to run a marathon within a year, don’t set a goal to run a half-marathon within a week because it just isn’t going to happen. If you want to be able to bench press 200 pounds within 6 months, then more than likely you aren’t going to be putting up 190 pounds after 2 days. It is important to not overwhelm your body or your emotions by pushing yourself too much at the start of creating a new exercise habit. If your goal is going to be to run a four-hour marathon in the future you will need to build up to that point. Start out with 10 to 20 minute runs and slow build up your stamina. The same concept applies to all types of exercise and even in activities outside of physical fitness. Our minds are able to accomplish a lot, but they need to be trained and strengthened by starting out with small goals.
3. Multi-task by catching up on television shows, movies, radio while exercising.
Distractions are often the reason that people stop exercising regularly. However, distractions can also be used to motivate and schedule your activities. One good way to get 30 minutes of exercise is to plan on using your treadmill, elliptical, or other home gym equipment during your favorite television show. Most machines are quiet enough that you will be able to ignore their motors and pay attention to the radio or television. This way you will have an excuse for watching television and working out at the same time. Reading books or magazines can also be done easily on many home gym apparatuses. Audio books are another excellent way to distract yourself from the pains of working out.
4. Be creative in your workouts.
Treadmills, weight machines, and elliptical trainers can all get boring really quick. Try to be creative in your workouts. You don’t need to feel bad about doing different exercises every day because you will be working your entire body. If you like working out indoors, try to have a few different pieces of equipment so that you can switch up the routine once in a while. This is possible now because of the wide variety of machines that exist ranging from rowing machines to assisted bench pressers. A great way to mix up the workout is to get outside once in a while. A jog around the park or neighborhood can be a great way to get your mind distracted from the difficulties of working out. Swimming, biking, skating, jogging, and hiking are just a few of the great outdoor activities that not only train your body, but they are also healthy for your emotional and intellectual states.
5. Invite someone to join you.
If you aren’t held accountable for your daily exercising it becomes extremely easy to stop. Invite a friend, family member, or even your pet to join you in your activities. Once you both create a habit of exercising you will be able to keep tabs on each other and remind each other of why you are doing this to yourselves! Pets can be a great workout companion and they will become used to the regular exercise and can even let you know when it is time to get out and work up a sweat.
6. When there isn’t time, make some.
Even the most avid athletes can have days and weeks in which their agendas are packed. It is important that exercising becomes a priority if you want to make it a habit. If your workout time is every morning at 7:00 a.m., make sure to write that down in your planner every day for the next few weeks. That way if your friend calls and wants to go to breakfast at 7:00 on Friday morning, you will be able to tell them that you can’t and you need to plan a different time to go out. If you really can’t find the 30 minutes you need every day then it can be beneficial to set the alarm clock 30 minutes early. There is always time that can be made to work out if you make regular exercise a priority in your life.
7. Reward yourself for your good work.
We all need incentives to do something that is hard work. Aside from the rewards of a better body, good health, and better overall well-being, treat yourself with a reward for your hard work. For example, you can promise yourself a weekend getaway if you exercise 30 minutes a day 4 times a week for 6 months. Or you can even have an extra scoop of ice cream on Saturday night if you fulfilled your goals for the week. Kids are not the only ones who do a good job if they know a reward is around the corner, adults are much more inclined to perform their best if they know there is a reason for doing so. If you promise yourself a reward for exercise it is important to stay true to your word. Your mind will remember if you lied to yourself!
8. Remind yourself regularly why you are exercising.
Every single day there will be a reason to not work towards your goal. You will need to have the willpower to get yourself out of bed and into the gym even when it doesn’t sound exciting. Try to think of a new reason for working out every week or add to your already created list of goals. Write these reasons down somewhere where you will be able to see them every day or ask somebody else to give you a reason for exercising regularly. There are a million reasons why someone will want to exercise and you need to make those reasons personal. You will need to have a reason for exercising regularly because if there isn’t one, why would you be doing it in the first place?
9. Remember the hidden benefits of regular exercise.
Exercising regularly to achieve your goals is a great activity but there are other benefits to creating a habit of exercise. Regular exercise has long been known to reduce the risks of any type of heart disease such as high blood pressure. This habit will also prevent osteoporosis, diabetes, obesity, and depression. Your joints, ligaments, and tendons will be healthier and last longer. Aging effects are slowed down in the body of a healthy and fit person. As you exercise regularly you will be able to maintain a normal weight, sleep easier, and have an increase in energy and endurance. Studies also show that stress and anxiety are dramatically reduced in persons who have created a healthy habit of exercise.
Regular exercise can be one of the most rewarding and difficult challenges one can take upon themselves. The habit is not created easily and you will not be able to achieve your goals without the help from others. One of the most important things to remember is to not get down on yourself if you don’t always complete your goals. You need to remember that it is more important to stay in the habit of exercising then it is to achieve those goals because if you can create and maintain that habit you will eventually reach those goals, even if it is on a different timeline.