Exercise is not always easy, even when under the best circumstances. What if you could do something to make it easier? There are a few general rules that can give you the support you need to make exercise a regular and routine part of your life. These rules may even make daily exercise a little easier, and you may start to enjoy it. Your approach to exercise is the key.
Here are 10 rules to make a exercise an easier part of your lifestyle. They will help you plan, prepare and commit.
Creating an exercise program/routine is not just about having goals, it is about time. You need to be willing to invest time into the process before reaping the benefits and rewards.
- Work on your schedule – Fitness routines will take trial and error to figure out how and when to add it into your schedule. You may not get it right the first time, but be patient with yourself.
- Figure out what you like – The program you choose may not work right away, so allow yourself the time and freedom to try different fitness activities.
- Learn good form in your exercise routine -We were not born knowing the correct way to exercise. You need to learn the moves correctly so that your muscles can memorize the correct form.
- Build Strength and Endurance – Your body needs time to get used to the exercise and build strength and endurance before you will see any weight loss.
If you already struggle with the idea of exercise, any little thing can derail your plans. Do not make excuses, instead work out a plan.
- Plan your workouts– Map out a weekly plan of what days you will be going to the gym and what workouts you will be doing. Having a plan of attack will make it easier to prepare and you will be less likely to stray. Pack up everything you need the night before so that you are prepared.
- Pack snacks and meals – Being hungry while exercising can be just too much to handle. Keep quick snacks around like cheese, yogurt, fruit or energy bars. It is a good idea to have these snacks readily available at home, work and in the car.
3. Commit to Workouts
Make sure you are always committed to your workouts because sometimes you may feel committed at the time but there is an “unless” lurking behind it. As in, ” I will do my workout…unless I am too tired.” Avoid that mental wiggle room and commit 100%.
- Schedule it – Make your workouts official on your schedule. Even label them on your calendar as a Fitness Meeting.
- Non-Negotiable – Show up for your workout, no matter what. Even if you only make it through the warm up, you are committed and it will get easier.
- Have something to look forward to – Committing to exercise is easier if you schedule something that you are looking forward to right after. Plan a soak in the hot tub, massage or even an evening out with friends.
While there is never a wrong or bad time to exercise, morning exercisers are often the most consistent.
- You will have more energy the rest of the day
- It is easier to stick to your routine if you get it out of the way first thing in the morning
- It will boost your metabolism
- You set yourself up for a healthier day overall
- It could help you sleep better
Here are some tips for the morning exerciser:
- Wake Up Gently – Give yourself a little extra time to wake up in the morning. Have some coffee or do some gentle stretching before working out.
- Bribe Yourself – Promising yourself a treat ( a movie, or a good book) to motivate you to get out of bed
- Get Ready Right Away – Put on your workout clothes immediately after you get up and start moving before your mind starts to argue with the decision
There is always a moment of choice before you start your workout. Will you or won’t you? If you follow the rules above, there is no question that you will at least try. If you are having a mental argument, ask yourself the following questions:
- Will skipping this workout be helpful to you, or hurtful? – You may genuinely need a day off to rest, recover and come back with full force or is it best to stay on your exercise routine.
- How will I feel if I skip a workout? – You may not want to workout right at that moment, but how will you feel about it later? Will you feel guilty or regretful? Think before you make that decision.
- Why am I avoiding or even thinking about skipping a workout? – Are you feeling tired?Are your workouts becoming boring? Figure how to overcome whatever is standing in your way.
6. Recognize What Excuses You Use
What excuses are you disguising as reasons? Being honest with yourself is crucial when it comes to exercising. You may be telling yourself things that are not true and setting yourself up for failure. Here are some typical excuses that you may struggle with:
- I am too busy – Everyone is busy but we need to find just 30 minutes a day to exercise. Three 10 minute workouts can be just as effective as a continuous workout.
- I am too tired – If you perform manual labor all day, you may be physically tired. If you sit all day, mental fatigue can be the culprit and cause you to not exercise. Just remember exercise will give you more energy.
- I do not know what to do – Confusion can be common. Just remember exercise is about movement. Take a walk, do a stretch workout, or try a structured workout.
When you beginning exercising, you begin to understand your body better. You learn your limits and what you are capable of at certain times or day or week. You will also begin to recognize signals when something is wrong.
- Pain – We can often ignore signs of a coming injury, especially when the pain is intermittent. If you begin to feel something unusual when you are working out, stop and try a different activity to work your body out in a different manner. Never work through the pain.
- Fatigue – A workout should give you more energy and should not drain you. If you feel worse as the workout continues, that is a sign that you may need to rest.
- Stress – While there are signs that you should back off on your exercise, there are also signs that you really do need a workout. Exercise can help relieve anxiety, depression and stress.
Most of us have a target point in fitness that we struggle with or completely avoid. Some individuals just perform cardio and no strength exercises, some individuals do the complete opposite. Some individuals workout hard just about everyday, allowing for very few easy workouts and others never seem to get out of their comfort zone. Finding balance means:
- Working Out Using All Aspects of Fitness – A balanced workout program includes cardio for the heart, strength training for the muscles, bones and joints, and stretching to avoid going too far in one direction and to work all of your body’s energy systems.
- Push Yourself…Sometimes – To make progress through an exercise routine, you must challenge yourself. But too many hard workouts can backfire. Try a mix of training methods and intensities to avoid going too far in one direction and to work all of your body’s energy systems.
9. Embrace Variety in Your Workouts
Humans tend to be creatures of habit and one we find a fitness plan that we like, or one at we can at least tolerate, we tend to stick to it. What long-term exercisers have discovered is that doing the same thing for too long can cause boredom, burnout and injury. To avoid that:
- Change Up Your Workouts – Every 4-6 weeks change some aspect of your workout. Try a new cardio exercise or some different strength building moves. Try doing your workout in a different order or try taking a new class.
- Evolve with Your Lifestyle – Allow all the workouts that you do to evolve. Our lives change, our needs change and our interests change with age. There is nothing wrong with seeking out a new way to exercise.
You will not always be perfect with exercise. There will be times when you skip a workout, and maybe times where you stop all together for multiple weeks. There will be times when you lack the motivation and you think to yourself “What is wrong with me?” We all fail, but that does not mean we cannot come back from it:
- Get Back on Track ASAP – Ease into it and give yourself time to build back your strength and endurance both mentally and physically
- Forgive Yourself – Do not spend your time feeling guilty, treat yourself the same way you would treat a friend in the same situation. Show yourself the same understanding and compassion.
- Learn From It – Failure is only bad when you keep repeating it. Figure out what went wrong and plan ways to avoid it in the future.
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