New Year, new fitness plan. But while most of us begin the year full of great intentions to implement healthy resolutions, we usually end up losing motivation and going back to old habits within the first few months.
We all know how beneficial exercise is to our body, but after a long day at work how can we convince our tired selves to get to the gym and get moving? Even going for a short walk or doing a few quick stretches can feel like too much of a chore. The trick is to find what motivates you, and to use that motivation to power you towards new healthy fitness habits.
Use Your Health as Motivation:
The body is amazing, but it needs to be looked after. Regular exercise keeps many diseases at bay, slows down the ageing process and helps you maintain health. Here are some health benefits:
- Cardiovascular benefits:
- Reduces your risk of stroke by 20-27%
- Reduces bad cholesterol and boosts good cholesterol
- Respiratory benefits:
- Improves the intake of oxygen
- Strengthens your lungs
- Brain benefits:
- Works as a natural anti-depressant
- Improves your confidence and self-esteem
- Muscular benefits:
- Strengthens and tightens muscles and skin
- Helps muscles grow and makes you stronger
- Skeletal benefits:
- Increases and preserves bone mass
- Reduces the risk of bone fractures
- Other health benefits:
- Reduces the risk of premature death from diseases or injuries
- Helps control blood sugar levels
- Helps you lose weight and is the fastest way to burn calories
Trick Yourself into Working Out
The Health & Life team share their personal work out tips!
- Only have a shower AFTER your work out. If you do this, then whenever you think about taking a shower you will remember that you need to go to the gym and sweat some more for a proper, relaxing shower.
- Actually wear your gym clothes. If you’re already wearing them, then you have no excuse to forget that you need to exercise. If this is impractical, put them in the passenger seat of your car, so that every time you get in you will remember that you need to drive yourself to the gym now!
- Believe in yourself. Your mind has a little voice that whispers “I can do this.” Listen to it and let it get louder. And if it is saying the opposite, prove it wrong!
- Think of the times someone pushed you around or asked you to help them pick up something and you couldn’t. Work out to get stronger and prove that skinny doesn’t always mean weak and chubby doesn’t always mean you’re going to run out of breath the second you decide to do anything.
- Track your success on a board or a journal. It’s not all about the number on the scale—notice the difference in dress sizes, how much further you can walk with ease, the heavier weights you can lift, how much fitter you feel. Celebrate every success. You’ll soon associate these positive feelings with exercise, and this will make it easier to motivate yourself to work out.
- When you feel like you can’t handle a whole work-out, tell yourself that you are simply stretching or warming up. That works all your muscles as well with a little less effort. And the chances are, after a light stretch, you might feel like doing a short work-out after all!
- Trick your mind into doing more. Don’t count your reps on a machine, just go until you can’t go anymore, then do 3 more reps.
- Work out with a friend that is just as busy as you are. Since both of you don’t have time to meet for lunch or a quick chat, motivate each other by always meeting at the gym. This way you’re sharing your success, spending time together, working up a sweat and releasing some stress all at the same time! A winning combination!
- Compete with everyone. We all want to prove ourselves, not necessary to others but to ourselves. So dare your friends or other gym goer to beat you in a race, or do more reps on a machine, or even stretch longer. This will get your adrenaline pumping and also give you a good laugh at the end. Remember, laughing counts as exercise for your diaphragm!
- Decide you will do at least one form of exercise every day. That could be walking 20 minutes, holding some simple yoga poses, doing a 15 minute stretching sequence, taking the stairs wherever you go, dancing to your favorite song—whatever works to get you into the habit of moving your body.
- Do what you love to do. If you hate running, don’t make yourself go on the treadmill just because that is what everyone else is doing. Try other sports like swimming, squash, tennis, Zumba, Crossfit—find one that feels like fun rather than a chore.
- Finally, do it for the outcomes. Not getting breathless going up the stairs, feeling fitter, the medal at the end of the race, the certificate for completing a class or fitness program, your name on a board for the whole gym to see how much you accomplished. Or simply to try that new fashion trend, or fit into those jeans that you’ve been keeping in the back of your closet with the tag still on!
Whatever your motivation, decide to make 2017 the year you dive into healthy living. Get motivated, get moving, and stay positive!