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Everyone benefits from regular exercise and should make it a goal to work out on a consistent basis. Our focus on fitness, however, competes with other schedules, obligations and pleasures that can stand in the way of making that goal a reality. Yet with the right priorities and a bit of planning you can make sure your workout happens.
Here are a few tips for sticking to your workout plan:
Find a workout routine that you’ll love. If you dread the Stairmaster or the gym, find an activity that you will actually look forward to regularly, perhaps Jazzercise! Investigate and get recommendations from friends; try different options and activities. Discovering your ‘thing’ is half the battle – so don’t give up and don’t go it alone!
Work out with friends. If you lack motivation and want to get the most out of your workout, studies have concluded that you should pair up with a friend or group. Plan a regular hike or morning walk at the mall with others for an awesome catch up and sweat session. Or get a friend to sign up for a class with you. Make your fitness time double as a friend date.
A study published in Applied Psychology looked at data from over 1,000 employees at one company and found that those who planned fitness activities with a partner had better results than those who depended upon themselves to increase their activity level.
Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania wanted to know what would motivate students to exercise. Researcher Damon Centola suggested that in a competitive setting, each person’s activity raises the bar for everyone else.
Research from the University of Aberdeen, Institute of Applied Sciences, evaluated the potential for engaging with a new workout buddy and how much success you might experience. It turns out that using a partner is a better predictor of your physical activity than relying on your own willpower.
Take classes with teachers who inspire you. It’s exciting to go to class with someone who excels at moving you toward your fitness goals. Working with a teacher who knows you and your body can also keep you from hitting a fitness plateau.
Find your best time to work out and stick with it. Designate specific days and times each week to workout. Variety and spontaneity are great, but sticking with a regular schedule is most advantageous physically and the longer you follow a routine, the easier it becomes. Put exercise time on your calendar and take it as seriously as a doctor’s appointment. It’s that important to your health and you’ll have fewer of those!
When utilizing a gym for your workout, pack your gym bag the night before. When your bag is packed, you’ve got no excuse; just grab it and go. If you want to be really prepared, keep a packed gym bag in your car for spontaneous urges, or sleep in comfy workout clothes so you can hit the floor running and do your workout before you shower for the day.
Treat yourself to a special workout wardrobe! In the same way stylish clothes make you feel confident in other areas of your life your workout gear can offer optimum comfort both physically and emotionally. Your workout clothes will not only reflect, but will also affect how you feel about working out. So upgrade from those oversized T- shirts and frumpy sweatpants and dress for success!
Create a workout playlist that pumps you up. Music moves us, so use it to boost inspiration and motivation. Create a playlist that paces your workout; fast and loud for cardio; slow and meditative for cooling down. Researchers have concluded that listening to music during your workout increases performance and helps exercisers stay focused longer.
Set goals. You’ve got to start somewhere and you should never stagnate. First goal should be working toward a stimulating routine three times a week, which will look different for everyone. Nevertheless, with both long- and short-term goals you’re more likely to regularly lace up your workout shoes or unroll your mat. Soon your goal might be a 5K challenge!
Time is of the essence, but our health more so. Schedules vary, as do physical capacities, so there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to exercise regimens however exercising to our personal potential is vital to everyone. When time is limited it’s good to know that even a short workout using varied intervals of intensity can be highly effective.
A typical 20-minute “peak fitness” routine can be on a recumbent bike or treadmill: Warm up for three minutes at your regular speed. Then exercise as hard and fast as you can for 30 seconds. You should feel like you couldn’t possibly go another few seconds. Recover for 90 seconds then repeat this varied intensity exercise and recovery seven more times.
Not in great shape? You can use the same varied intensity strategy while walking. Use normal walking pace with 30 second bursts of moving as fast as possible without running but with arms and legs pumping hard and fast. Begin with just two or three varied intensity repetitions and work up to eight.
Reward yourself. As long as you’re moving your body, take pride in your workout – then grab a tasty post-workout protein bar or smoothie. You’ve earned it!