So in this post I want to focus on how to get started and keep going. That’s the hard part of exercise, not the physical activity itself.
How often have you heard someone comment, “I really enjoy it when I do exercise, and I feel so much better afterwards. I just wonder why starting exercise is so difficult?”
The problem lies with our caveman—or woman—nature. We are hardwired to expend only so much energy as necessary to find food. And then rest afterwards from all that hard work. This strategy helped us survive in the days of saber tooth tigers, but really operates to our detriment in this day and age of fast food and take out.
Try these 11 proven strategies to keep ahead of the game:
- It’s only once a day. Meals are much harder because you have to keep your resolve up at least three times a day or more, but exercise is only once. And, the earlier you get it done, the more likely that you will do it.
- Try the 15 second rule. If you are working out on the treadmill or elliptical machine, go as long as you said you would, and then go just 15 seconds longer. Those seconds add up over a years’ time, but more importantly, help give you the discipline to work when you don’t want to.
- Have a bad weather plan. There are some great exercise tapes out there. I just previewed the Walk Away Pounds series with Leslie Sansone that gives you the ability to walk in place with weights. In just 20 minutes you are done!
- Have a hard and fast rule to walk at least a mile a day. It is even better than apples for keeping the doctor away.
- Put your exercise gear right by your bed and/or eat breakfast standing up. Both practices will get you up and moving before your sloth side kicks in.
- Exercise before you read the morning newspaper.
- Only take ONE day off. If special circumstances throw you off schedule, get back on in 24 hours. It’s like a crime scene. The longer the time is, the less likely it will be solved. Likewise, the longer you go without exercising, the harder it will be to get back to it.
- When you are sick, be sick. Really baby yourself. Then, when you are 80% well, start back slowly.
- Adopt a kedge. This is a challenge that will keep you going. For example: volunteering to walk for a special cause helps both you and others.
- Take baby steps. Short and easy. If you are starting back after a long period of inactivity, remember to start slow.
- There are some great sequential training programs out there. If running is (or might be) your thing, check out the great beginner’s tips and motivation in this Runner’s World training article about training to participate in a 5K.
Although it may not seem like it at times, doing exercise is actually easier than the dieting part of dieting.
If you pick things that you like to do, and vary your activities so that you don’t get bored, you can succeed with this vital part of your fitness plan!