How to stick to an exercise plan

One of the most popular New Years’ resolutions seems to be “work out more often”. We start off with good intentions, but after a couple of weeks, we slip back into our old habits.  Here is my advice for sticking to a workout plan.

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Exercise for the time poor

Exercise doesn’t have to consist of long, arduous sweat-sessions. Just thirty minutes a day, three days a week can go a long way to improving your overall fitness and well-being. If you have time, try exercising for twenty minutes a day, every day. A twenty-minute block of activity is far less intimidating than an hour-long sweat session. Be realistic with your goals, and aim to do just a little activity every day. There are so many types of exercise that can be done in short bursts. Try walking to work, doing a short yoga workout, or hula-hooping in front of the television. All of these activities are fun, functional and short.

What to do?

 I find that the best way to stick to an exercise routine is to find something that you genuinely enjoy. Personally, I am the sort of person who gets bored easily. I like exercise that is fun, energetic and can be done in short bursts. My exercise routine includes:

– hula hooping

– dancing

– free weights and muscle toning exercises

– walking

– yoga

– jogging

-pilates

 Try a range of different types of exercise until you find something that appeals to you.

Staying motivated

The key to staying motivated is to keep yourself interested, and to build exercise into your existing daily routine.

Focus on the benefits of exercise.  If you’re feeling a bit sluggish, remind yourself that you’ll be done in twenty minutes if you start right now.  Think about how your skin will  glow and the endorphin rush that comes after a workout.  Use these benefits to get your butt moving.

Switching types of exercise regularly also helps to you keep going. Be on the lookout for new classes or workout videos that you are interested in trying.

Try to anticipate any excuses you might use to avoid exercise and then come up with ways to circumvent them. If you are likely to give up on days when the weather is bad, stock up on a couple of fun workout DVDs that you can use when you can’t go outside. If you think you will try to use tiredness as an excuse, constantly remind yourself that exercise will actually improve your energy levels. Sometimes, your worst enemy is yourself, so if you try to think two steps ahead, there will be no excuse for…well…excuses.

Finally, reward yourself for good work. If you manage to fit in three thirty minute sessions in a week, treat yourself.  Take yourself for a massage, buy a cute lipstick, or go to the movies. It is important to be kind to yourself, and reward good work rather than punishing yourself when things don’t go according to plan.

How do you motivate yourself to exercise?

You might also be interested in these posts:

Run for your life!

5 Reasons to give exercise a chance.

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6 thoughts on “How to stick to an exercise plan

  1. I loathe excercise. I always have. I find it both boring and painful and so I’ve always had trouble keeping to an excercise routine. My solution? I work excercise into my ordinary life and activities, rather than making it a separate activity in and of itself.

    I work on the ninth floor of an office building, so instead of taking the elevators I take the stairs.
    I need to take public transport to work, so instead of taking the two minute walk to the tram stop, I take the 15 minute (at a vigorous pace!) walk to the train station.

    As a result, I am now more fit than I have ever been in my life…and I don’t actually excercise!

    • It’s true, working a bit of ‘incidental activity’ into your routine is a great way to get fit. Even if you hate exercise, you can kind of trick yourself into doing it if it’s part of your daily routine. I walk pretty much everywhere and it’s a brilliant workout. Taking the stairs is another good way to get fit. Also, would you believe that housework is actually very aerobically effective? Sounds silly, but it’s true.

  2. Dancing alone in my room is my favourite! I also find that searching for workout videos on youtube is awesome, so much variety. The Tiffany Rothe ones are my fave at the moment because they are ten minutes each and you can mix and match them depending on how much you want to do. Love it!

  3. definitely! I find dancing is a really good alternative to all the pushups/situps/callisthenics. you can dance any way you want and still have fun while burning fat.

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