With our increasingly sedentary lifestyles, exercise is one of the most important activities you can add to your daily routine to start living a healthier life. Not only can an exercise routine boost your mood and energy level, but it can also reduce your anxiety. Exercise also has some pretty obvious physical benefits, such as helping reduce unwanted weight and toning up muscles. Studies also show that physical activity can improve bone density and reduce the likelihood of developing osteoporosis.
Despite all of the benefits of exercise, according to Harvard Magazine, about 40% of women, 35% of men, and 17% of children in the U.S. are obese. A lack of exercise combined with a poor diet is mostly to blame. It can be hard to get motivated, especially if you haven’t worked out recently, or if you’ve never tried to exercise before.
Just because you feel out of shape, or you’re intimidated by the thought of going to a gym, doesn’t mean you should skip out on one of the most crucial activities for your health. Here are seven tips that’ll motivate you to start working up a sweat regularly.
1. Start Small
You don’t need to participate in a triathlon on your first day back exercising. Start with simple workouts that are less intense once or twice a week. You can begin to work yourself up to longer and more strenuous workouts more frequently over time.
Exercise is a form of self-care, so it doesn’t have to be an “all or nothing” situation. If you make your first exercise routine too hard, you’ll get frustrated and set yourself up for failure before you’ve even begun.
2. Set Tangible, Realistic Goals
Before you start, figure out what your exercise goals are. Make sure these goals are realistic and measurable. Set a timeline to achieve them that makes sense with your schedule and progression. You might determine that you want to fit in your old jeans by your birthday. You may want to be able to run a mile in 10 minutes within the next month. Perhaps you have invested in a flatter tummy, and simply need to work to maintain your new shape.
Setting achievable deadlines for your goals can help you to stay motivated with your routine as well. By choosing goals you know you can reach, you won’t set yourself up for a feeling of failure that you’ll subsequently associate with exercise.
3. Try New Things
There are countless ways you can move your body to give it the exercise it needs. However, it’s important to vary your exercise routine so you can continue to make progress. Be sure the exercise routine you choose includes stretching, cardio, and strength training.
Exercisers who are solely focused on eliminating fat in problem areas may be tempted to stick with cardiovascular training. While this type of exercise is important, strength training can allow you to gain muscle and muscle uses about 25% of our daily calories, according to the Harvard Magazine source above. Therefore, strength training is just as important as cardio for weight loss or weight maintenance, following a liposuction procedure, for example.
Stretching may seem like a waste of time since it may not make you lose your breath or sweat. However, stretching can improve your flexibility and lead to better performance when you’re strength training or doing cardiovascular exercises. It also ensures your joints stay healthy, which can keep your body balanced and performing well. Experiment with a combination of these types of exercises to keep your body in harmony while getting stronger and leaner.
4. Be Kind to Yourself
Negative self-talk isn’t helpful in any situation and is no way to build confidence in yourself. If you’re just starting out with a fitness routine, it probably won’t come naturally. Even if you feel uncoordinated or out of place, it’s important to be kind to yourself and to allow yourself the time to learn and grow.
According to the Mayo Clinic, positive thinking and self-talk can increase your lifespan, lower your rate of depression, and lead to better cardiovascular health. Don’t negate all the amazing benefits of exercise by speaking to yourself negatively throughout the process. By showing self-compassion, you’re more likely to succeed with your new exercise routine and make it a habit you enjoy.
5. Jumpstart the Habit
An external motivator can be just what you need to start incorporating exercise into your daily life. Plan a pivotal moment that’ll help you jumpstart the habit. If you’ve recently had liposuction surgery and want to keep the fat off, it can be very effective as a motivator to continue exercising. You could also sign up for a 5k, plan a hiking trip, or decide you want to play soccer with your kids.
Having something that holds you accountable can make it easier to start working out and can keep you motivated on the tough days when you don’t feel like putting on your sneakers. Trying something new and exciting, like a new sport or a hike, can also help you unlock an untapped passion for a certain activity. When you find something you enjoy, it’s easier to make exercise or training for your new sport a habit.
6. Do What Works For You
With so many different exciting gym classes and sports that can get you excited about working out, there’s no reason to waste time doing a workout you hate. If you try running but it’s boring to you, switch it up and try a dance class for your cardio instead. If you make your exercise routine fun and varied while personalizing it to your own tastes, it can be easier to make it a normal (and fun) part of your daily routine.
7. Celebrate Every Victory
No matter how motivated and positive you remain about incorporating exercise in your life, it’s still hard to make it a habit. That’s why it’s important to celebrate every small victory you achieve. Whether you measure it by losing a few pounds or consistently making it to the gym five days in a row, give yourself a pat on the back.
You’re working on self-improvement, which is never easy, so give yourself credit for sticking with it. Your fitness journey will be full of tiny victories and making a big deal over reaching these small achievements can keep you motivated to stick with it.
Not only can exercise help you lose weight and stay toned, it’s also important for your mental and physical health. By staying positive, varying your routine, and making your work out a habit, you can incorporate exercise into your life and have fun doing it.