by Greg Landry
Motivation is the key to consistent exercise and results! Here are my “top 10” keys to motivation:
1. Know the benefits of exercise. We are more motivated to do things that we’ll benefit from. The more we benefit => the more motivated we are. For example, if I told you I’d give you a million dollars to take a 30 minute walk tomorrow morning, would you do it? You bet you would! The benefits of exercise aren’t quite that compelling, but they are pretty motivating! 🙂
You will benefit tremendously from consistent exercise. For many people, that’s very motivating! To see a list of my “Top 20 Benefits of Exercise”.. Top20
2. Create your personal “reasons list”. Keep a piece of paper and pen handy for a couple of days. Jot down EVERY reason you can think of that you want to get healthy / get fit / lose weight, through consistent exercise.
Real life example => I spoke to a lady a couple of months ago who could only think of two reasons that she wanted to lose weight and get fit. I told her to think about it for a couple of days and she came up with a list of over 30 reasons, such as..
o more energy to spend quality time with her family at night
o to be able to fit into all the clothes in her closet
o to be able to live a long, healthy life to enjoy time with her children, husband, and grandchildren (eventually)
o to not be uncomfortable in public
o to not become breathless climbing stairs
o to be able to do “active” things with her family and friends
o to be able to play on the floor with her children
o to be able to wear nice clothes
Her list goes on, but you get the picture. Make a long, extensive list. This may not seem important, but it is critical to be able to read this list when your motivation to exercise is waning. It’s a powerful way to quickly get “re-motivated!”
3. Exercise with a friend. Statistics tell us that people who exercise with a friend are more successful at exercising consistently. You can keep each other accountable. Knowing that someone is waiting for you to exercise with them can be great motivation to show up and get it done!
4. Exercise first thing in the morning, every morning. Folks, if you’re really serious about this exercise thing, then get serious about it. Our bodies were made to be active on a daily basis.. and when we are, all sorts of wonderful things happen.. we even get healthy and fit!
People who exercise 6 to 7 days per week first thing in the morning, are much more successful at exercising consistently, than those who do the 2 or 3 day thing. It doesn’t have to be a huge workout everyday.. get out there and take a 30 minute walk. For all the details on why you should exercise in the morning, see my article.. Morning
5. Train for a local 5k or 10k walk or run in your area. This can be great motivation to exercise on a regular basis. I’ve seen many people transformed from couch potatoes to lean, mean exercising machines, because they decided to enter and train for a competition like this. Don’t think you can’t do it… YOU CAN!
6. Reward yourself! Real life example => Claire from Atlanta told me that she puts $3 in a piggy bank every time she exercises. She gives herself the freedom to spend this money on things she normally wouldn’t buy for herself. She says she usually ends up with over $70 per month!
7. Keep records. Write down your exercise time (minutes) each day. Keep a running total for the month and year. Calculate your average exercise time per day. Set some lofty goals!
8. Make your exercise as enjoyable as possible. For example, if you’re a walker, you may want to get a good cassette or CD player to listen to music or books on tape, etc. If you’re exercising inside, set up a TV so that you can watch it while exercising. On the other hand, you may just prefer peace and quiet. Do whatever makes exercise most enjoyable for you. You are much more likely to exercise consistently if you enjoy it.
9. Wear good shoes that are appropriate for what you’re doing. Injuries seriously affect your motivation to exercise. Most people, especially walkers and runners, wear their shoes far too long.
Worn out shoes will make you much more prone to injuries.
My absolute favorite place to buy shoes is “Road Runner Sports”. They have great prices and selection but most importantly, their catalog includes a great chart for determining which shoes are best for you based on numerous factors. Even if you don’t buy shoes from them, this chart is great to have. Request their free catalog by calling 1-800-551-5558, or go to their site.. Road for the electronic version of their buyer’s guide chart. It’s called “shoe dog.”
10. See results and get compliments. That’s really motivating! GO FOR IT!
By Greg Landry, M.S., Exercise Physiologist www.greglandryfitness.com
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