Is your treadmill covered in dust? Are your running shoes coming back in style? Use these tips and ideas to inspire your exercise motivation and get back into a strong weekly exercise plan. Exercise is one of the best ways to add years to your life
and tap into the hidden quality of life benefits of exercise
Okay, I know it's shallow -- but let's face reality; a lot of people are motivated by clothes. If you happen to be one of them, use it. Go on a shopping spree. Buy that new workout outfit, get the new shoes, invest in some nice things. The more you spend, the more likely you will be to use those clothes. It's just human nature. So give yourself a budget and renew your passion for exercise through your passion for new clothes.
Exercise videos are great - you get some of the benefits of a group class without having to leave your house. There's an instructor to demonstrate the proper form and give tips, and (most importantly) to keep track of time. If you need to rev up your workout, go shopping and find some new exercise videos. Pick ones that look fun and work on mastering those workouts. When they get sale, buy some new ones. It's a lot cheaper than a gym membership.
A bit of exercise in the morning can rev up your metabolism all day long. Not only will you feel more energy, you also might sleep better. Most importantly, by exercising in the morning you'll be sure to get your workout in every single day before interruptions and distractions start up.
For me, it is my iPod that gets me out exercising. A new album can have me looking forward to a run like nothing else. Not only does music get me out exercising more, it also helps increase the intensity of my workouts. You can get a cheap music player and load it up -- it can transform exercise from a chore to something exciting.
A few months back, I signed up for a 150 mile two-day bike ride to benefit multiple sclerosis. Later, I found out that the ride is really more like 188 miles -- so I've got some extra training to do. Now that I'm committed, I've been exercising more than ever. Three hour rides on the weekend and as many spinning classes as I can fit in. If you want to rev-up your exercise routine, find an event slightly beyond your current fitness level and take the plunge. They'll be all sorts of training groups to help you along the way.
Home exercise equipment (bikes, treadmills and rowing machines) can offer excellent workouts and provide necessary aerobic exercise. The trick is to figure out how to transform using them from being a dreadful chore to being something to look forward to. I like to use any "machine exercise" time to do something I don't usually have time for: read a book. In my case, I listen to a book. I'll go online and download that latest book that just looks great and hit "play" while I sweat on the machine. If I had a handy TV nearby, I might rent some movies I've been wanted to see. The key is to find something exciting so that, on a bad day, you still want to exercise so you can finish the movie or book or whatever else motivates you.
Group exercise classes are fantastic. Not only do you benefit from an instructor pushing you for the entire hour or so, you also benefit from someone else setting your exercise schedule for you. To get the most out of a group exercise class, talk to people. Come a few minutes early and chat with the instructor or other classmates. Be sure to tell people at the end of class, "See you next time." The more interactions you have, the more social pressure they will be for you to return. In this case, peer pressure is a good thing that will keep you exercising on a low motivation day.
I'm always surprised how many people don't really have an exercise plan. They may know that they want to exercise 3 times a week, but that is the extent of their plan. They go to a gym and just "work-out." This leads to a not very exciting exercise routine. Instead, make a plan for yourself, set some goals, become determined. Get a big calendar and circle the days you want to exercise. Put a big "X" through them when you do. Give yourself a reward for a perfect week and a perfect month. Make no compromises or excuses - stick with your plan.
When people think of working out at home, they usually think of some kind of machine -- an exercise bike, rowing machine or treadmill. These can, of course, be great. My favorite home exercise piece of equipment is a simple exercise mat (or yoga mat). This is just something you unroll on the floor to allow yourself a padded space to stretch and do strengthening using your body weight. An exercise mat and a couple of videos is all you need to get started. You'd be surprised just how good of a workout you can get with simple equipment.
If you are just getting started exercising and don't want to make a big investment, consider an exercise ball. They are inexpensive, can be used at home and will really open up possibilities for your workout. Find an exercise ball that comes with a video to help you learn some of the exercises you can do. You may need to buy some light weights to do with it -- but that's it. An exercise ball could be all you need for a great workout.