by Danielle Rice, Publisher and Editor of Piedmont Family Magazine
You know you could use more exercise. You want to get fit so you’ll have more energy, look better, feel better – and be a better role model for your children. But between work, chores, and the kids’ activities, who has time? You do! And it’s easier than you think. Here are some tips to motivate you to get moving:
Be realistic. If it’s been some time since you’ve exercised or you’re in a very stressful phase of life, it’s not likely that you’ll jump right into a full-on exercise routine and stick with it. You need to start slowly. Maybe you are a regular exerciser, but your week gets very hectic. If you have a long commute followed by an 8-hour workday with back-to-back meetings, it’s unlikely that you’ll get in an hour at the gym or a long run – and telling yourself that’s your goal will only make you feel frustrated and guilty. But committing to getting up early to do a 10-minute yoga video or going on a 15-minute walk at lunch time is do-able and will help you feel better physically, give you a sense of accomplishment for meeting your goal, and encourage you to continue on the path to a healthier life.
Do something you love. Fitness guru Shaun T. recently tweeted: “Working out is not supposed to be a chore or something you HAVE to do! Work out because you enjoy it.” Couldn’t agree more. If you don’t like it, you probably won’t do it. Choose an exercise plan that fits you! Just because your best friend runs marathons, doesn’t mean you’ll love it, too. Personally, I find running to be very stressful – mentally and physically – but I love to walk (at very high speeds, I’m told) very long distances. There are a lot of options for getting exercise, so you can surely find something that appeals to you. Enlist a friend or your family to join you and get in some social time while you work out, too.
Be organized. Make yourself a plan of fitness activities for the week – write it down on your calendar or add it to your to-do list. View your commitment to your own health and well-being as an important task and commit to it just as you would a doctor’s appointment, paying bills, or taking care of your family’s needs.
Give credit where credit is due. Maybe you didn’t get in that 5-mile run today (or even put on a pair of running shoes). But unless you were sitting on the couch eating bon-bons all day or in bed watching re-runs of The Real Housewives, you were probably doing something. Did you walk the dogs? That’s burning calories (and if your 60-pound pooch likes to stop and smell everything and you end up dragging him more than walking him…trust me, it can happen…that’s probably a pretty good arm/shoulder/back workout, too!). Did you vacuum the house top to bottom for an hour? It counts. Have an impromptu dance party with your kids? Count that, too.
Be flexible and creative. You may not have time for a full workout, but there are lots of things you can do on a daily basis. Push-ups, crunches, planks, lunges, or squats are all very effective exercises that can be done almost anywhere, anytime, with no equipment. Traveling and can’t get to the gym? Do a set of push-ups in the morning and one in the evening with a minute of planks. It will get you through until you can get back on track. Take a stretch break every few hours during the work day or when on a long car trip; stand up, walk around or jog in place, stretch your quads and ham strings. Try to avoid the all-or-nothing mentality and instead remind yourself that a little bit of movement is always better than none.
Be kind to yourself. What would you tell a friend who missed a workout, or two, or a week? You’d probably remind of her of all that she did accomplish and encourage her to get back on track. Well, be your own best friend when it comes to your health. Keep a positive mental attitude. Encourage yourself (or call a friend for inspiration if you’ve really hit a wall). Reward yourself when you’ve met a fitness goal. Be patient when you’ve missed a workout or failed to achieve a goal. Tomorrow is always another chance to get back on track – or start on a new healthier one.
Workout Routines to Keep You Motivated (some of my favorites)
- Insanity and T-25 (only 25 minutes!)
- Oxygen’s ‘tight and defined’ full-body circuit workout
- Walking – map my run can help you map out a route and track your time and progress
- Interval routines – do six 30-second intervals of activities, rest for 2 minutes and then repeat. Whatever activities you like. Be creative and set this up with your kids. Let them pick. You don’t even need any equipment or you can use whatever you have on hand. For example: Jog in place, jumping jacks, squats, planks, jump rope, push-ups. (Do 30 seconds at each ‘station’ and then move on to the next. When you’ve completed all 6, rest 2 minutes and then do it again. Repeat 3-4 times).