Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Keep Your Resolve in Your Exercise Program

How many of you vowed to exercise more for your New Year’s Resolution, but either didn’t stick to it or fell short your goals?

Below are some tips for changing up your exercise routine on a regular basis in order to stay motivated:

1. Stay positive: You can always find an excuse not to exercise. Instead, focus on the positive benefits you gain from exercise, including increased energy, better sleep, and getting in shape for summer.

2. Reward yourself: When you reach fitness milestones, consider buying yourself a new CD, going to a movie, or something else that will let you celebrate.

3. Change your routine: As seasons change, and the weather with it, vary your routine by using the treadmill when it is cold outside or playing tennis in the warmer months. If it is raining, resolve to do stretches, lift free weights and/or workout to an exercise video. This will not only help you accommodate the weather, but will also prevent workout burnout..

4. Integrate random intervals into your routine: Varying strenuous exercise with periods of rest has been known to burn more fat, build muscle, and improve metabolism. Alternating between lifting free weights and low impact aerobics would be an example of this workout style.

5. Learn new types of exercise: Learning a new skill while getting in shape stimulates you mentally and keeps you interested. Check your local college or gym to see if they offer yoga classes, kayaking, or something totally new that you would like to learn.

6. Engage in exercise that involves social interaction: Take an aerobics class or join a tennis team. Exercise that involves social engagement can alleviate boredom that comes with routine workouts while allowing you to meet and enjoy new people.

In conclusion, there are many ways to vary your everyday workout routine to allow you to overcome the urge to make excuses and instead, have fun reaching your exercise goals!

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  1. How many ELI students have a regular exercise program? I don't right now because I find it very challenging to balance work, school, and exercise. That first point, "Staying Positive" loses me right at the start. I'd love to know how you manage it, Erika.

  2. Erika said: For me, I try not to think about it so much as tuning into my body or subtle cues in my day that remind me to exercise. For example, my friend mentioned to me on the phone that she was going to take a walk outside while there was daylight left and nice weather. That cued me to put my tennis shoes on and hurry before it got dark. However, when external reminders and cues aren't present, I tune in and ask myself if I have used up my physical energy that day to ensure a good night's sleep and renewed energy the following day. If you feel an extra "antsiness" at the end or any point of the day, it is a good sign that your body wants to exercise. So, tuning in more to your body's signals is a good way to gauge how to schedule time for exercise even if it is only brief bursts of exercise (e. g., 10 minutes on the treadmill or a 10 minute outdoor walk).

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