If your exercise program hasn't moved beyond the “thinking about it” stage, you're not alone! Lots of people think they should start exercising, but they just can't take that first step. Here are seven simple tips to motivate you to get off the couch and get moving!
Use Your Brain First. Get to the library or get online and do some reading about health and fitness. Once you learn about how beneficial exercise is for combating disease and many of the ravages of aging, you might be ready to give it a try.
Here's a little tidbit to get you started. According to the Alzheimer's Association, “Physical exercise is essential for maintaining good blood flow to the brain as well as to encourage new brain cells. Aerobic exercise improves oxygen consumption, which benefits brain function; aerobic fitness has been found to reduce brain cell loss in elderly subjects.” Be careful to choose reliable sources for your information, not just advertisements for the latest miracle cure!
Use Your Imagination. Once you've done your research and convinced your logical brain that exercising is good for you, use your imagination to help you see what your life will be like once you adopt a fit and healthy lifestyle. Picture yourself stronger, slimmer, and more flexible. Use your mind's eye to imagine how you'll feel with more energy, better balance, and less stress. It's all in your future if you start your fitness plan today.
Have a Change of Heart. No matter how logical we think we are, our emotions really drive our behavior. So tap into the emotions that can shape your fitness future. Are you afraid of ending up in a nursing home or being a burden to your family? Does your love for your new grandson motivate you to be a healthy and vibrant role model for him? Are you angry that your lack of energy keeps you on the sidelines? Tap into those emotions and let the feelings carry you through your workout. You may be surprised by just how powerful your emotions can be as motivators.
Make It Fun. If you think exercise is boring, it's time to get creative! There are so many great ways to get moving and get fit, that everyone can find something they enjoy. If you don't like it, you won't keep doing it, so take some time to figure out what's fun for you. You might like a spinning class, or yoga at dawn. Maybe salsa dancing is more your cup of tea, or a game of pickup basketball. Or maybe you need to walk in the mall, so you can enjoy a climate-controlled environment with window displays to distract you.
Especially in the beginning, experiment widely, and find several activities that you really enjoy. As you get fitter and more comfortable with your body and your abilities, you'll find more activities begin to be appealing.
Enlist a Buddy. Lots of people are very self-conscious when they first start exercising, and having a friend along can really ease your discomfort. Invite a friend to join you and you will ramp up the fun factor. Plus a friend can help motivate and cheer you on or hold you accountable when you try to slack off.
Start Small. One of the biggest mistakes people make when they begin an exercise program is to bite off more than they can chew. Don't expect to run a marathon in your first week of working out. Your fitness level will increase gradually with regular effort, but the key is to find a moderate level that you can stick with. If you're inactive now, every little bit of activity you add to your life will pay off with rich health benefits. So start small, but start with the intent to continue.
Do Yourself a Favor. If you think you're too pressed for time and stretched between too many commitments to exercise, remember that you deserve to live a long, healthy life. Regular exercise is one of the keys to unlocking that life. You deserve it, so allow yourself to take the time to treat yourself well.
It's never too late to begin your fitness journey, and every little bit helps, so what are you waiting for? Get moving!
Do you have a special trick that gets you motivated to exercise? Please share your ideas in the comments!
(photo credit: By Jtneill (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)