Isn't it funny that the minute you decide to exercise, something always gets in the way? A neighbour stops by for a chat. You have to work late. The dog chews up your running shoes. It snows... again! Legit or not, these reasons can quickly snowball into days or weeks of excuses for not exercising. If you plan your meals and snacks, you know that thinking ahead makes it easier to take control. The same goes for exercise.
If you're a fitness newbie or you haven't been active for a while, no worries. Take it one small step at a time. For starters, we just encourage you to become more mindful about moving, so shifting your focus to fitness comes more naturally. (If you're new to fitness, or have taken an extended break, be sure to speak with your doctor before you start or resume a fitness plan.)
Along with creating an activity plan (when, where, how long, and with whom you can work out), it can help to set an activity goal — no matter what your fitness level or how small the goal. It might be to walk 10 minutes three times a week. Or to take a class right in your living room with a trainer at Wello.com. Whatever you choose, make sure it's something you like. The not-so-secret idea here is, of course, that the more you like what you're doing, the more likely you are to keep it up.
To help you make exercise a routine that feels like anything but, these ideas can help:
- Find fitness that fits your life. If you have an irregular work schedule, trying to catch a class during the week can be frustrating. So, choose activities that can be easily slotted into your day, like walking your kids to school or running errands during lunch.
- Draw up a weekly timetable. To help you organize your time properly, create a weekly calendar of activities. Try to do something for at least 20 or 30 minutes each day. Yard work, housecleaning and snow shovelling count, too;
- Wear an activity monitor. There are a multitude of devices out there that can log everything from your steps taken, calories burned to distance traveled and more. Activity monitors can give you insight into your fitness level, nudge you into action with automatic reminders, and provide instant motivation to sneak in a few extra steps every day.
- Attach exercise to a (non-food) treat. Don't wait until you reach your goal to celebrate. Mini-rewards — like flowers once a week for completing all of your workouts — will help keep you motivated. You can also attach exercise to an enjoyable event, like playing with your kids in the park or catching up with a friend on a walk.
- Get your crew on board. Having a workout buddy can help you stay on track. It can also help your fitness efforts to let your family and friends know about your goals — and about how much you love encouragement (or a kick in the pants, if needed!). If you need someone to watch the kids while you exercise, arrange it well in advance; don't rely on last-minute favours.
- Anticipate dips. Everyone struggles with motivation from time to time; preparing for these feelings can help you quickly bounce back from them. For example, if you sometimes struggle to get to your aerobics class, ask a friend to call you to make sure you're not still sitting on the sofa.
- Buy workout clothing you're excited to wear. Shop for well-designed, flattering, and supportive workout clothes; you'll be more motivated to work out.
- Grab and go. Leave your gym bag by the door. That way you always know where it is, and it's a gentle reminder to get moving.