Exercise Program A Bore? Here’s A Few Ways to Shake It Up!

From “The Biggest Loser”, How to take the “Boring” Out of Exercise

1. Use Exercise to Get What You Want Out of Life
Many people look at exercise only as a way to burn calories. How boring! If that were the only reason to move, I’d skip it too. Think of exercise as a means to get other things you want in life; a walk on the beach, a trip to the museum, playing soccer with your kids. Then, as you get stronger, actually go out and DO those things. There are hundreds of rewards of being active that have nothing to do with calories and scales.

2. Seek Support
You can’t do it alone. It’s true that you have the power to make your own choices and only you can control your success. But having a great support network gives you two very powerful weapons. First, being accountable to someone helps you take an objective look at both your victories and your challenges. And second, having someone to lean on in the tough times is invaluable.

3. Quality Beats Quantity
More, more, more is a dead-end road when it comes to exercise. Eventually you’re going to run out of time in the day. Plus, there is some evidence that exercising more than an hour per day increases your chances of dropping your workout program altogether. If you’re already exercising 30 – 60 minutes on 4 – 6 days per week, focus your attention on making your exercise more challenging instead of longer.

4. One Step at a Time
When you increase a part of your exercise, like duration or intensity, stick with the increase for at least a week to 10 days before making another change. Like walking up stairs, this will let your body “rest” at one level before you step up again. Making changes more quickly will work for a short time, but your chances of injury or burnout are far greater.

5. No Comparison
Focus on what works for you, not what works on TV or in a magazine. Your exercise plan needs to take into account your schedule, abilities, limitations, preferences and goals. Not everyone likes group classes. Not everyone is meant to be a runner or a swimmer or a cyclist. Choose what feels best to you and fits best into your life.

6. Baby Steps Are Important Steps
Many people get overwhelmed thinking that unless they make big changes all at once, they are wasting their time. But if you can’t maintain 20 minutes of exercise per day then aiming for 60 minutes per day won’t make you more successful. The temptation is that 60 minutes per day will bring faster changes and greater weight loss. But your plan won’t work if you can’t stick to it.

7. Give Support
Helping others is a great way to clarify your own beliefs, goals, strategies, strengths and needs. When you teach someone a skill, offer encouragement or simply tell your own story it makes you take inventory of what has helped or hindered you, take credit for your successes and stand up for what you believe in.

8. Be an Active Person, Not Just a Person Who Exercises
I’ve seen people fight for the spot closest to the front door outside a gym. Wow! How silly it seems to take the time to go the gym for an hour a day only to spend every other hour of the day looking for ways to be as sedentary as possible. There are occasions to choose movement everywhere you look. Look for those times when you can take a few extra steps. They’re opportunities, not inconveniences.

9. Don’t Be Afraid of Muscles
Strength training is a scary proposition for many people, especially women, because they don’t want big muscles. But as you get older you’re far more likely to lose muscle by being sedentary than you are to gain it by working out. It’s far harder to gain significant muscle than you might think. But, challenging yourself with calisthenics, exercise tubes, free weights or machines will help you retain precious muscle mass that keeps your metabolism revving as you lose weight.

10. Celebrate What Your Body Can Do
Too often people are caught up in trying to make their body look a certain way. Many men and women struggle to look like a cover model. That’s like working out with the goal of making the Olympic team–it leads to frustration, and it misses the whole point of being active. Your body is capable of lots of great things and taking you lots of wonderful places. Enjoy what you can do now. Don’t wait until after you lose the weight to begin living.

Tip:

We all know that our exercise routines can become just that: routine. Find ways to mix it up as well as focusing on how the exercise you’re doing impacts other areas of your life. And to integrate this into our lives for the long term, I really like the “quality over quantity”. I have found as my program progresses, the basic stuff gets easier so tweaking and making changes is crucial. More challenge, same time allowance!

Hope this has been helpful and great way to move into the weekend!

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