by Geri Walton ~ November 21st, 2008
If you want to keep in shape but find your routine becomes hum drum and loses it’s magic, don’t sweat it. You can learn to breakthrough the monotony and re-energize workout routines with motivators. Motivators make exercise fun, and you’ll be more likely to put down the potato chip bag and seek fitness rather than the couch. Here’s ten great motivators:
- Be Energetic. The best time to work out is when you’re the most energetic. So, if you slow down at 5:00 p.m. don’t go to the gym at 5:00 p.m. If you’re a morning person, exercise in the morning, and if you’re wide awake and charged up at 9:00 a.m. exercise then.
- Choose Exercises You Like. If you don’t like to jog, then for heavens sake don’t use the treadmill. Make exercise fun. Do something you like. If you love to ride a bike, get one, or join a gym that has bike classes. If exercise is a chore, you’ll be less likely to keep at it and more likely to quit.
- Find a Partner. Set a time to meet and exercise with a friend. Studies show a partner encourages you to stick to an exercise program. Benefits of a partner include the ability to share and encourage each other, as well as the chance to rejoice and commiserate together.
- Find Fitness. A little bit here and a little bit there helps. Don’t feel you can’t exercise unless you have a gym membership and go every day at 7:00 a.m. If you can’t devote a solid block of thirty minutes or an hour to exercise every day, find six five-minute mini exercise spurts. For instance, jog around the parking lot at work, walk up and down the stairs instead of taking the elevator, or do some lunges in your office.
- Keep a Journal. By tracking your progress you can see how quickly you achieve your fitness goals. Record what exercises you do, how many calories you burn, how far you jogged, and what you weigh each morning. The idea is to record information so you can see the progress you have made, which then encourages you to keep at it.
- Take a Picture. Take a “before” picture of yourself, and hang it somewhere you can see it every morning. In another four weeks take another picture of yourself, and keep taking pictures until you’ve reached your ideal weight. The physical changes you see every four weeks should keep you motivated and on the weight loss path.
- Set Goals. Don’t just go to the gym with a vague idea that you want to lose twenty pounds. Set some specific goals, such as “lose ten pounds in three months,” and then make a contract with yourself to achieve it. Another thing, make your fitness goals achievable. If you want to lose thirty pounds and you decide you’re going to do it in a month, it’s not likely to happen. However, if your goal is to lose thirty pounds in six months, you can achieve it. Once you’ve reached your weight loss goal, set a new goal to maintain the weight by creating a new contract.
- Vary Your Routine. Anyone would get tired of doing the same thing over and over. Spur your muscles and yourself to new heights by cross-training. Add in some weight lifting or cardio exercises. Swim sometimes or ride the bike. Try yoga or take a pilates class. What’s important is to include fun in your exercise routine by challenging yourself and changing your routine.
- Watch Yourself. According to a report in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, watching yourself as you run on a treadmill encourages you to run faster because you use oxygen more efficiently. Focusing on what you’re doing relaxes the body and the mind, which in turn makes you more efficient.
- Write It Down. Researchers at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas, found exercisers who wrote down concrete ideas to improve their workouts increased their physical exercise because they had more fun and worked out longer. Written ideas that work include: jog with my friend, use my head set when jogging on the treadmill, or take a yoga class.
Now you know the best ten motivators, it’s up to you. Choose one or use a couple of the strategies, but stay motivated and stay fit. As you age, don’t be the one in the wheelchair; be the one pushing it. Studies also show when you’re fit, you’re more likely to outlive your sedentary neighbor. and, if you’re healthy you’re also more likely to do it with style and grace.