Exercise. There’s nothing quite like it. It boosts the endorphins, keeps you healthy, keeps you looking great, improves your social life, helps you sleep better, and gives you the opportunity to buy some really cool workout clothes. Who wouldn’t want to do it?
Apparently, quite a lot of people. According to a study by Harris Interactive, 73 percent of people who made New Year’s Resolutions to stay fit abandoned them before the end of the year.
Let’s face it. The results of exercise may be great, but anyone who watches “The Biggest Loser” regularly knows that working out can be anything but glamourous. It’s sweaty, can feel repetitive, and may not be the most comfortable thing to do.
So what can you do? How can you become one of the 27% who actually keep their resolutions?
Most Common Excuses to Avoid Exercise
Before we look all the great ways you can motivate yourself to exercise, let’s look at some of the most common excuses you’re using to avoid it, and find out why they’re called excuses.
“I have no time.”
If you’re watching TV, you have the time. While you’re binging on the last season of “Game of Thrones,” slip-on some resistance bands of walk in place. If you don’t have a good stretch of time to exercise, consider breaking your workout into shorter intervals.
Exercise gives you energy. Your body will make those feel good hormones, and you’ll get your circulation going.
“I have to take care of the kids.”
If you’re kids are moving, you can move right along with them. Go biking with your kids, or set up a basketball net in the yard.
Show off your mom or dad moves with “Dance Dance Revolution,” or “WiiSport,” or just walk around the playground while they’re on the monkey bars. A family that plays together stays together.
“I don’t like to move.”
Why not? Don’t like to sweat? It doesn’t have to be all hot yoga. Try some swimming, or work indoors in the air conditioning. Self conscious? Work out at home, or start out by walking with a friend, in some comfy clothes.
If joint fatigue is a problem, consider heading for the pool; working out in water is easier on the joints, and the stronger your muscles become the more they can support joints and take the pressure off.
“Exercise is boring.”
Find something you like to do. Try skating or go dancing. There’s an inner athlete in all of us. You just need to tap into yours!
“I’ve tried it before!”
Don’t give up on yourself! You need to set small reachable goals so you feel like a success, rather than a failure. Keep a log and post it somewhere where people can see it- even on social media. You can get your friends to leave comments like, ”
Now that we’ve seen why the excuses won’t cut it, let’s find out how you can get yourself a little more excited about, or at least comfortable with, exercising regularly.
So, you’ve probably seen some pretty extreme exercise routines that take it from zero to 100 in ten seconds, but the thought of a self-induced panting fit may be anything but motivational.
A study conducted at the YMCA in Quincy, Massachusetts found that those who lifted weights for 14 seconds per rep increased their strength more than those who did the same exercise in half the time.
Lifting your arm slowly keeps you from relying on momentum and helps you to keep better form.
Rock Out While You Work Out
If you’ve seen the commercial with Taylor Swift falling off the treadmill while trying to channel her inner Drake, you may know that dangers of listening to music when you exercise.
However, if you think you can manage to keep the footwork to a minimum, the right playlist could be just the thing to help you make the most out of a workout.
According to a study by the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, people who listened to music while on a stationary bike were able to accelerate their heartbeats to a greater extent, and pedaled faster than those who listened to slower music or non musical sounds.
Maybe if you’re Jane Fonda, you can work out in front of a mirror with zero anxiety, but apparently this isn’t the case for mere mortals.
Even though most exercise facilities have mirrors on the walls so exercisers can check their form, a small study shows that women who work out with an eye on their reflections often feel wearier and less calm than their mirror free counterparts.
In fact, some gyms are even intentionally keeping mirrors out of their facilities, so gym goers can concentrate on their workout instead of their appearance.
If you find mirrors unsettling, try to find a mirror-free zone, or ask the center manager if he or she would consider offering one.
Change It Up
Man cannot live on bread and water alone, and man and woman cannot live on a stationary bike. Variety is the spice of life, which is why you need to avoid letting your body and mind get too comfortable.
Try mixing your routine up; it’ll give you a chance to work out more body parts and prevent mental numbness. Stair step on Monday, jump rope on Tuesday, spend Wednesday at the aerobics class. If you’re committed to the weight room, try switching up the number of reps or the weights you’re using.
Exercise is bound to make you dehydrated, so the last thing you need is to show up on half a tank of water. If your system is not running on full hydration mode, you won’t be able to concentrate, work hard, or feel good. Down some water or juice before a good work out session, so you’ll be raring to go.
Whether you think life is meant to be shared, or misery loves company, a friend is a sure way to get you out the door when you’re thinking of skipping out on your workout.
Friends can encourage one another to work harder, try new equipment, and talk to that cute guy who uses the elliptical. Plus, it’s always great to have someone to compare notes with, and gabbing on the treadmill can make time fly.
Accentuate The Positive
Think like “The Little Train That Could.” Studies show that if you think you can, you’re more likely to!
According to research, 55 to 92-year-olds who practiced positive thinking during exercise were more likely to reach their fitness goals that this who doubted themselves.
Be your own cheering squad. Try, “Bring it on,” as a mantra, and blast those negative thoughts away!
The Personal Trainer
Looking to add a little Je ne sais quoi to your routine? Try a personal trainer! A personal trainer may be just the thing you need to take your workout from the amateur to the professional level. Personal trainers can check technique, introduce some new moves, and give you the extra push you need to power through your exercise routine.
Compete with the Person Next To You
A little competition never hurt, and it can be a powerful motivator. Mr. and Miss World don’t have to know you’re looking to copy and/or top their speed, but that doesn’t have to stop you from trying. You’ll give yourself a goal, and may make things a little more interesting by adding some competitive spirit.
Be Mindful Of Your Muscles
Be smart about your workout. Remember, your muscles play a huge part in your workout, and paying attention to your form may cause your muscles to fatigue sooner, so you get more bang for your buck from your workout.
Pay attention to your movements to ensure that your getting the maximum muscle workout from each one, for a more intense, more effective routine.
We all want to cut down on unpleasant odor when we exercise, but there may be more benefits to freshening the air in the room with essential oils beyond the perspiration mask.
Rosemary has been shown to boost energy during cardio, and lavender can provide for enhanced relaxation while doing yoga or Pilates.
If you’re working out outside the home, try mixing some water with aromatherapy oil in a squirt bottle and spritzing a little on your clothes before working out, so you can experience the benefits of scent while you exercise.
You may not be able to judge a person’s character from the shoes she or he wears, but you can certainly make some inferences about the quality of his or her workout.
While clothing choice may play a huge role in the quality of your performance, the right shoes are absolutely crucial. Wearing your worn-out old sneaks or ones that aren’t made for the type of workout your doing can make the exercise more difficult, and even put you at risk for injury.
Try to stick to shoes with running soles for running, firm bottomed cycling shoes for spinning, and walking shoes if strolling is your preferred method of working out. Besides, there’s nothing like shopping for a pair of new shoes to motivate you to workout.
Think Of Someone You Find Annoying
Exes, fake friends, bosses: this is the time when they actually come in handy. Channeling aggression against someone you dislike can help you release stress and anger to power through your routine.
Just visualize yourself competing with them on the stationary bike or elliptical to keep you motivated.
Watch A Movie
Movies can be really inspirational. Just think of how often we end up borrowing celebrity hair styles!
There’s nothing like watching Sylvester Stallone taking on that jumprope or huffing up those steps in Rocky to get you inspired. After all, if Sly can do it…
Work out In the Afternoon
If you’re not busy mid-afternoon, everyone else is. Mid-afternoon is the least busy time of the day at the gym, so you can probably get any machine you want without waiting and get through your workout sooner. Plus, there won’t be as many people there to share the steam room with afterward.
How do you get motivated about exercise? Let us know your favorite psyche-building methods that power you through your workout!