One of the things I hope Feel Great in 8 Challenge participants gain is a daily exercise habit. I know the required 5 days of exercise a week is a lot, but I also know how important it is. I read the funniest cartoon recently that showed a doctor saying, “What fits your busy schedule better, exercising for 1 hour a day or being dead 24 hours a day?” I pick exercise! 🙂 So, let’s talk about what has best helped me fit in and stick with daily exercise…
1. Break it Up: The cdc recommends 2 hours and 30 minutes of exercise a week (30 minutes/5 days a week) and to get full points during the challenge you need 45 minutes a day. I realize that is a big chunk of time to fit into a busy schedule, but the good news is…it doesn’t have to be done all at once!! Fit in a 30 minute workout in the morning and then a 15 min walk after lunch or do three small 15 minute workouts. Even five short 10 minute workouts count, as long as you get it all done during the day. Fit it in wherever you can and I promise you won’t regret it.
2. Schedule It: Write it on your daily calendar or planner and set an alarm on your phone to remind you. Make keeping that appointment a priority.
3. Pick the Right Time of Day: It doesn’t matter what time of day you exercise, as long as it is the best time for you. I am a morning workout kinda girl. One time I tried to commit to working out every evening with a friend and I ended up getting out of the habit all together because I just couldn’t do it. Test out a few times and find what works best for you. You’re more likely to stick with daily exercise if you pick a time that fits you the best.
4. …But be Flexible: Don’t write off exercise for the day just because you snoozed your alarm too many times (I never do that…cough…cough), or have another conflict that interferes with your usual workout time. Make daily exercise important enough that you find time to fit it in later (or earlier) in the day.
5. Pair Up: One of the tips I hear over and over again from participants is that they stick with exercise better when they do it with a friend. Join the gym with your spouse, invite a friend to go on daily runs, or even put on a workout DVD with the entire family. Agree to push each other and hold each other accountable.
6. Find Activities You Enjoy: I wish I was a runner, I’ve tried over and over again to become a runner, but I’m just not. I look forward to walks with my kids and even on a bad day I don’t mind putting in a workout DVD, but I just hate running. It doesn’t matter if you enjoy running, or hiking, or jumping rope, or even roller blading. If you find what you enjoy, instead of forcing yourself to do things you don’t, you’ll be far more likely to stick with it.
7. Set Goals You’re Excited About: It may be completing a 5k, doing a certain number of pushups, or finishing an entire workout without resting. When you accomplish one goal, set another! I always try to have a difficult (but attainable) fitness goal I’m working toward and it often gives me the extra motivation I need to get going.
8. Measure Your Progress: Don’t just count on the scale to tell you how well you are doing. Take before/after photos, measure your arms, thighs, and waist, record your resting heart-rate and take note of how winded or tired you are during certain activities. Recording and tracking all of these things will really show your progress and help keep you motivated to keep going!
I hope these tips help! I promise the rewards of daily exercise will be well worth it in the long run.