We all know that exercise is good for us, yet most people have a difficult time staying motivated or developing a workout routine over the long term. It’s something I’ve dealt with for years; first, I was too ascetic about exercise, running 2-3 miles every day to maintain an unhealthy weight. As a result, I stopped working out altogether in an attempt to get in touch with my motivations behind different types of exercise. I currently practice yoga and do a lot of walking, but even this tends to be inconsistent and out of keeping with my own advocacy for maintaining a regular exercise routine. If you’re like me and need an extra push to liven up your sweat sessions, here are some ideas to help you stay engaged when all your body wants to do is chill on the couch with Netflix.
1. Get moving. As in, get your digestion moving. Working out on a full stomach or too soon after a meal will make you feel heavy and lethargic–not exactly what you want when you’re about to run five miles. This will be difficult to achieve if you work out after work or on a lunch break, which is why I generally believe it’s best to work out first thing in the morning. When I wake up, I make myself a small cup of coffee (caffeinated tea works, too) so that I can, ahem, clean myself out before yoga. As a bonus, you’ll feel wide awake and ready to tackle a vigorous workout!
2. Stop using your gym clothes as loungewear. I love a cozy pair of yoga pants as much as the next girl, but I never wear them for leisure. When I put on my yoga clothes, my body and brain know it’s time to go to class. If I were to wear them while doing chores and errands, that would send mixed signals about their utility. I find it helpful to do this with pajamas, too–I only put them on when I’m about to go to bed, and it seems to help me fall asleep faster.
3. Look to social media for inspiration. If I’m feeling especially unmotivated to work out, I’ll watch some YouTube videos from my favorite yogis. When I see how strong and flexible they are, I’m reminded of all the goals I’ve set for myself and get excited to roll out my mat. Whether you’re into lifting weights, swimming, or ballet, find an athlete that inspires you to improve yourself (however, avoid harshly comparing yourself to them).
4. Work out with a friend. Some people prefer to exercise alone while others thrive on conversation and companionship. If you’re more of the latter, get a group of friends together for an exercise boot camp or a jog outside. You’ll stay accountable to one another and also have fun socializing!
5. Try something new and different. Sometimes, all it takes is a move outside your comfort zone to reignite your passions. Tired of spinning? Take an introductory yoga class. Burnt out on rock climbing? Sign up for a half marathon! Variety prevents us from getting stuck doing the same thing each day (though there’s something to be said for that, too) and challenges different muscle groups.
Are you in an exercise rut? What’s the best tip you’ve received for maintaining an exercise routine?
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