As my mother always says, the hardest thing is just "starting". Once you start (anything, really), the path becomes clearer and each step easier. For me, its never about dreading the workout itself... the true challenge is getting past all of my unending excuses for not starting in the first place. Even though I can feel my bum getting larger and my legs getting weaker as I sit for more than 10+ hours a day at this desk, I am somehow still able to find just a few more bits of computer work to be done... anything in place of getting off my ass!
I really do know that regular exercise effects every single aspect of my life - my daily mood improves, I eat better, I snap at people much less often, I can handle stress more successfully, my brain is clearer, and you know, the sex life always improves. There are a million pros, and absolutely no cons.
So, with that said, how can I be more consistent with putting my physical health first, or just move more often? I found 11 great tips for just that. Below are suggestions from Gretchen Rubin of The Happiness Project on how to exercise more regularly. Good luck.
"Pump It Up: Eleven Tips for Exercising More Regularly"
1. Always exercise on Monday. This sets the psychological pattern for the week. Along those lines …
2. If at all possible, exercise first thing in the morning. As the day wears on, you’ll find more excuses
to skip exercising. Get it checked off your list, first thing.
3. Never skip exercising two days in a row. You can skip a day, but the next day, you must exercise, no matter how inconvenient.
4. Give yourself credit for the smallest effort. My father always said that all he had to do was put on his running shoes and close the door behind him. Many times, by promising myself I could quit ten minutes after I’d started, I got myself to start—and then found that I didn’t want to quit, after all.
5. Think about context. I thought I disliked weight training, but in fact, I dislike the guys who hang out in the weight-training area. Are you distressed about the grubby showers in your gym? Do you try to run in the mornings, but recoil from going out in the cold? Examine the factors that might be discouraging you from exercising.
6. Exercise several times a week. If your idea of exercise is to join games of pick-up basketball, you
should be playing practically every day. Twice a month isn’t enough.
8. Look for affordable ways to make exercising more pleasant or satisfying. Could you upgrade to a nicer or more convenient gym? Buy yourself a new iPod? Work with a trainer? Get a pedometer to keep track of your walking distances? Exercise is a high life priority, so this a worthwhile place to spend some money if that helps.
9. Think of exercise as part of your essential preparation for times you want to be in especially fine form—whether in performance (to be sharp for an important presentation) or appearance (to look good for a wedding) or mood (to deal with a stressful situation). Studies show that exercise does help.
10. Remember one of my favorite Secrets of Adulthood, courtesy of Voltaire: Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Don’t decide it’s only worth exercising if you can run five miles or if you can bike for an hour. I have a friend who scorns exercise unless she’s training for a marathon—so she never exercises. Even going for a ten-minute walk is worthwhile. Do what you can.
11. Don’t kid yourself. Belonging to a gym doesn’t mean you go to the gym. Having been in shape in high school or college doesn’t mean you’re in shape now. Saying that you don’t have time to exercise doesn’t make it true.
People often ask me, “So if I want to be happier, what should I be doing?” and I always say, “The first thing to do is to make sure you’re getting plenty of sleep and plenty of exercise.”
I know that answer doesn’t sound properly transcendent and high-minded on the subject of happiness, but research shows that you’d be wise to start there. And I’ve found that if I’m feeling energetic and well rested, it’s much easier to follow all my other happiness-inducing resolutions.