26 May 5 TIPS TO PSYCH YOURSELF UP FOR EXERCISE
Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park at the back of the mall parking lot and walk. Get off one bus stop away from your final destination and walk the rest. All good ideas—and ones you’ve probably heard countless times. Being active in your daily routine is important, but spring is here, so after getting the okay from your doctor, let’s take your exercise program up a notch! Try these tips to keep your fitness motivation high while you lose weight.
1. Take advantage of Daylight Savings Time. You get a whole extra hour of daylight now, so use it to your advantage! Push dinner back and schedule some exercise from 6 to 7 p.m. instead. Start just one day a week, with the goal to increase to 3 to 5 days. If this is the only time you get to spend with your kids, include them! Play tennis after work, or just walk the dog together. This has the added benefit of creating good exercise habits for your kids, too.
2. Find a workout buddy. Research shows having someone to workout with increases accountability and makes you more likely to fit fitness into your day. Just make sure your workout buddy has similar fitness goals as you and is reliable. Amp up the accountability factor by putting it in writing and signing a ‘commitment’ to each other. Make sure there is a consequence if one or both of you skip a workout—maybe you need to do an additional one on the weekend or double the length of one or two workouts. If it works correctly, you may actually find yourself enjoying this ‘punishment!’
3. Get some feedback. Sometimes it’s hard to stay inspired when all you have is the scale talking back to you. Find other ways to measure progress—a pedometer, heart rate monitor, or BodyBugg are all great ways to set and track fitness goals. With a pedometer, aim for 5,000 steps a day. Once you’ve achieved that (it’s not so simple!) increase your daily steps by increments of 1,000. A heart rate monitor can be a great way to ensure you’re exercising in your target heart rate zone—which is key to burning fat and improving fitness levels. Many heart rate monitors will calculate your target heart rate zone for you. All you have to do is wear it!
4. Try something new. Walking is a great activity, but muscles get used to doing the same thing and become very efficient at it. Your body needs a shake-up to its routine if you want to see greater weight loss progress. Sign up for a class you have to pay for ahead of time so you know you’ll go. Local community centers are great—and inexpensive—ways to improve your fitness. Try a dance class or join a volleyball team—whatever looks fun and challenging to you.
5. Train for something. Sign up for your church’s 5-K run against hunger, or join a Team in Training or Livestrong to train for an event and raise money for a charity you believe in. This approach gives you the best of all worlds—committing to training and finishing, connecting with others like you, and contributing to a worthy cause. Get involved today!