My New Year’s resolution this year is to move more. Until recently, I have had a love-hate relationship with exercise. This time around, however, I am thinking about it differently. Whether you are trying to incorporate exercise into your routine or are already an avid exerciser, these tips can help you enjoy moving more, just like they did for me.
Being realistic about your exercise goals will set you up for success. Choosing too lofty a goal can make you feel like a failure, especially if your goal was not realistic in the first place. For example, if you never ran a day in your life, you probably shouldn’t sign up for a marathon. If you want to start running, look for run-to-walk plans or a couch-to-5K training plan. Being realistic and giving yourself enough time will make you feel accomplished. Check out my post “6 Solutions for Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions” for more information about setting SMART goals.
Sneak in Steps
Adding more walking to your day is an easy way to incorporate exercise and movement into your already busy life. To sneak in more steps, take the stairs instead of the elevator, park in the spaces farthest away from buildings or stores you frequent, and do a lap around the grocery store before you start shopping. Use a pedometer or a pedometer phone app to see how many steps you take on an average day, then work to increase your daily steps. After that, increase them again. A good goal to shoot for is 10,000 steps a day. For more resources, and to learn more ways to add steps, check out the American Heart Association’s My Heart/My Life website.
Find Strength in Numbers
New situations can be more bearable—even enjoyable—when shared with a friend. You can do many activities with a buddy. Here are a few ideas:
- Sign up together for a fitness class at your local gym.
- Take up a sport that you can play one-on-one or in a group.
- Take a walk with a coworker during breaks at work.
Find Something to Like
If you are in an exercise rut, figure out what it is that you do not like about your current workout situation. Do you hate the gym? Find something to do outdoors. Struggle with mornings? Change your workout time to the afternoon or evening. Need something to prod you to get out of bed or off the couch? Think about how you feel after you do your favorite exercise. Chances are imagining that endorphin boost will give you the push you need to get up and start moving.
Change What Doesn’t Work
In the past I have seen exercise as a chore—something I dreaded. I even referred to the treadmill as the “dreadmill.” I decided to vary my routine with running outside sometimes, doing different running workouts, training for a half-marathon, and listening to my favorite Pandora station while I run. The combination of these things, and thinking about how good I feel after I work out, makes me more inclined to climb out of bed in the morning and do it.
If your normal exercise routine is boring you, it may be time to spice it up or look for something new. Here are some ideas for mixing up your routine:
- Borrow workout videos from the library.
- Take a tour of local gyms.
- Research workout plans online.
- Train for an event.
- Take your workout outdoors.
- Listen to free tunes to pump you up (my favorite free apps are Pandora and Spotify).
If you’re looking for a new exercise to fall in love with, the Mayo Clinic has a list of different exercises that includes how many calories they burn. You may discover a new favorite exercise that makes you happy and healthy.
What is your favorite exercise? Which of these tips do you plan use to move more this year?