Tips to help you stick with Exercise

4 Min Read

Have you ever committed yourself to an exercise routine only to quickly abandon it? If so, your commitment was probably based on the prospect of future goals weight loss, lower cholesterol, firmer muscles, etc.

There’s nothing wrong with these goals, but they are rarely enough to keep you motivated. To stick with a routine, you must find ways to enjoy exercise itself. How do you do that? Dr. Charles Roy Schroeder, one of the country’s leading exercise physiologists, recommends these strategies…

• Consider your personality and lifestyle when picking an exercise routine

If you have a demanding, people-oriented job, you might enjoy a repetitive, solitary workout like swimming or jogging.

If you thrive on competition, pick a competitive sport like tennis, basketball, etc. or pepper your workouts with goal-oriented elements, such as timed sprints.

• Be aware of bodily sensations

It’s easy to overlook the pleasurable feelings that accompany exercise. Make it a point to be aware of these kinesthetic sensations the rhythm of your breathing, the motion of your joints, the ebb and flow of tension as your muscles contract and release.

• Add music

The right music can make your movements more graceful and rhythmic. It can also set a pace for you.

Avoid loud or insistent music the kind favored by many aerobics instructors. Blaring music directs your attention away from the pleasurable kinesthetic sensations.

If you’re running, bicycling or skating, it’s best not to wear earphones. They can make it hard for you to hear traffic or other potential hazards.

• Work out with a mirror

Mirrors enable you to see your muscles at work at the same time you feel them working and that helps focus your mind. Mirrors also let you check for correct form and let you enjoy the gradual improvement in your appearance as you get into shape. That helps keep you motivated.

• Vary your exercise routine

Make your workout interesting by varying…

• Speed and intensity

Alternate between light and heavy weights. Experiment with different resistance settings on the exercise bike. Vary your running pace.

• Range of motion

Instead of lifting a weight all the way up on each repetition, lift it one-quarter of the way and then lower it. Then lift it halfway and lower it and then lift it three quarters of the way.

Also: Add motions that spread the work over additional muscles. In the arm curl, for example, standard form is to hold dumbbells with hands down at sides, then bend at the elbows to bring forearms up in front of chest.

As you raise your forearms, try moving your elbows forward at the same time. That works the shoulder muscles.

  • Form. On a bicycle, move your hips from side to side as you pedal or push harder on alternate sides (LEFT right left, RIGHT left right).
  • Get a work out partner someone who is open to the idea of exploring pleasure in movement. Motivate and inspire each other.
  • Be playful. Throw in some skipping steps as you jog. In the pool, pretend you are a dolphin or a submarine. No one has to know what you’re thinking. Giving free rein to your imagination will make exercise more enjoyable.

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