Yes, we are a blog about healthy eating. But that does not mean we don’t care about exercise. Exercising is recommended nearly universally as part of any healthy diet, including most heart healthy diets, like DASH and diets for people with diabetes.
But it’s not always easy to find the motivation to exercise.
Here are our top 11 tips on getting motivated, staying motivated and even learning to love exercise!
1. The Future: Think of your life in 10, 20, or 30 years. Exercise is one way to make sure you’re mobile, independent and healthier in your old age. It’s not just tomorrow’s beach body – it’s also the quality of life you’ll have as you age. Remind yourself this as you make your exercise plans. And it’s never too late to start either!
2. Feel Good: You know you’ll feel good after exercise – tap into that feeling to help get you out the door. Take notes of the quality of life improvements you have when you exercise – stairs without panting, going up hills without a sweat or being able to enjoy hobbies like biking, swimming and hiking.
3. Use Imagery: Whether it’s a picture of you in your target weight or a healthy fitness role model, if you’re a visual person looking at these pictures can remind you why you should exercise.
4. Make it Fun: Find something you like and stick with it. Try different classes until something speaks to you – kickboxing, Zumba, spinning – whatever it is be sure to make time for it in your life. And keep an open mind! Don’t let being overweight stop you from joining (so long as the doctor says it’s OK). And don’t let other people’s narrow-mindedness on what constitutes exercise stop you!
5. Find Another Reason: Whether it’s watching old Law & Order reruns while you’re on the elliptical runner, enjoying a sauna or Jacuzzi, finding and latching onto another motivator is a great way to help keep your gym attendance up. Bribing yourself is fine too, as long as it’s healthy. Buy a favorite magazine for the gym, make a gym-only MP3 mix and stock your shower bag with fancy shampoo.
6. Set a Goal: Signing up for a marathon is one great way to stick with a training schedule. Working with a trainer to set weekly work out goals is also helpful. Health related goals, like weight loss or BMI are easy to track. Lowering blood pressure, cholesterol or regulating blood sugar all benefit from exercise and you can set goals for them as well.
7. Get Social: Whether it’s a group exercise class, a workout buddy, a bicycling club, running a marathon with friends or an online support group, turning exercise in to a social activity makes it fun and harder to skip.
8. Enjoy the Compliments: People notice when you’re looking better and they tell you. Don’t be shy about taking those compliments and adding some more on from you to yourself. When you finish exercising, tell yourself that you did a great job!
9. Get Techie: From simple devices like a pedometer to fancier ones like a FitBit, technology can turn exercise into more of a game. Try hi-tech exercise machines that make exercising a little more interesting.
10. Don’t Get Discouraged: When you have a rough time at first (you will) or you skip a class (you will) or you get injured (let’s hope you don’t) it’s easy to just give up – don’t do it! Find a different exercise that works for you.
11. Go Home: Exercising at home is a great option for lots of folks. All you need is a TV or computer monitor, some DVDs or even YouTube videos. There are tons of different programs that fit every exercise style. Having an at-home back up workout is also a great idea for everyone.
Do you have any tips to stay motivated to exercise? COMMENT below!