Twenty Ideas…to help get more exercise.
I didn’t start exercising until I was in my twenties. I never liked exerting myself. It may have had something to do with my sensory overstimulation and the fact that a bead of sweat rolling down my face or my back drove me insane. I think about my grandparents, and how they never even had to consider the idea of exercise, because in the daily life of running a farm, their work was a workout. It has taken me a long time to develop a healthy relationship with exercise. Here are some of the ideas that have worked to help me get here and some that have worked for others.
1. Do it every day. It is so much easier to let the routine go and skip a day and then another and another when trying to exercise three times a week. The routine can be shortened and kept up daily, and it becomes more difficult to skip. Currently, I speed walk (yes, and look truly ridiculous, but it is a great work out), or swim laps for thirty minutes a day.
2. Get upright. I spend a great deal of my day at the computer, as I know many other people do. If possible, try to get yourself upright while working. I put my computer on a high top table so that I can stand while writing.
3. Remember the two-week rule. Experts say that it takes about two weeks for the mind to develop a habit. When starting a new exercise routine, commit to at least those first two weeks and see if it gets easier once that barrier is passed.
4. Use the T.V. This is not one that has helped me specifically, but I was reading from an author the other day who said that the only time she allowed herself to watch television, was when she was on the treadmill. So, because of this, she started looking forward to her workout.
5. Use the time to get creative. I employ this technique big time. Most days I write in the morning until I hit some sort of block, or I am lacking an idea. That is the time that I choose to go out and exercise. I rarely come back inside without the idea that I was seeking.
6. Make yourself your transportation. Buy a backpack and walk to the grocery store instead of driving yourself there, or walk the kids to school, or bicycle to work, or walk to your neighbor’s house for a cup of coffee.
7. Switch it up. Not only does employing a few different exercise routines keep things more interesting, it also makes for more effective workouts by using different muscles.
8. Try dance. It was the first exercise routine that I was actually able to employ after I had my daughter. Dancing uses many different muscles, and it is usually fast and fun. My husband is really strong, but he struggles to keep up with my dance videos.
9. Chronicle your accomplishments. Just writing down the exercise that you accomplish in a week can really help to motivate anyone. I don’t like to see people making fun of others when they report their workouts on social media, because this is their way of keeping themselves motivated.
10. In contrast to getting creative, use the time that you exercise to fall into a meditation and clear your mind. This is multitasking at its finest.
11. Get to love sweat. It has helped me a lot to recognize that every bit of sweat that leaves my body carries toxins right along with it. I am at the point where I am happy to let sweat pour off my body because I recognize how good it is for me.
12. Employ nature. Sometimes choosing an exercise that is done outdoors can make all of the difference in the world. Some people just don’t do well with being crammed into a gym.
13. Commit monetarily. Sometimes buying that new pair of running shoes, or paying for a gym membership, can be all the motivation that we need to keep on exercising.
14. Take baby steps. I think that the first time I started swimming laps again; I maybe swam five. Work yourself up slowly by minutes, or laps, or miles. I swim thirty laps every time that I swim now.
15. Congratulate yourself on the aches. I always appreciate the aches that I get after a good work out because I know that this means I have been building healthy muscle. Never forget that stretching is important though, excessive aching may be due to lack of good stretching.
16. Figure out if you like solitary exercise or group exercise. I prefer to work out alone which may be the reason that when I go out in the neighborhood for a run I am dressed like I am trying to hide from the paparazzi. Conversely, some people can only find motivation if they are getting encouragement to exercise from a group or a partner.
17. Try employing rewards. Obviously, a brownie sundae with extra fudge is probably going to nullify your workout, but a piece of really nice chocolate can always be a good motivation to finish a routine.
18. Remember that muscle weighs more than fat. I know that some people find themselves discouraged in the first month of an exercise routine because they have actually gained weight. It is important to have patience and remember that regardless of the scale, our bodies always benefit from exercise.
19. Allow for cheat days. There are always going to be those days when it just doesn’t happen. It is important that we allow ourselves to miss a workout every now and then, and forget about it.
20. Remember to be proud. Sure, one little mile is just one little mile, but it is a whole lot more than zero miles.