Have you started on a fitness regimen or signed up for a gym membership but quit along the way? Most people will answer “Yes” to this question as staying fit seems easier said than done. However, not getting adequate exercise can have many negative effects on your health and well-being, particularly given the sedentary lifestyles most people have today. With summer steadily approaching, it will soon be time for days spent lounging by the pool, playing in the surf at the beach, or grilling out with friends and family, so why not use summer as a motivator? Everyone wants to shed some pounds and be fitter, but procrastinating and quitting is not going to help. Instead, find ways to keep yourself motivated so that getting regular exercise becomes easier. Here are a few tips:
- Set a goal
This is the most important part of fitness plans, as setting unachievable goals for yourself will only increase your chances of quitting. Go for simple ones to start with. For example, if you are just beginning to work out, plan to walk or run for 10 minutes every day this week rather than aiming to complete a marathon in six months. Once you set a realistic goal, write it down and put it up so that you can revisit it daily and get that motivation you need. Post your goals up beside a summer countdown for those days when you need an extra reminder as to why you are working out.
- Walk with your dog
If you have a pet (or you are friends with dog owners), all you need to do is offer to take the dog for everyday walks. Dog walking has been linked to a considerable increase in physical activity. Make a routine out of it so that you stick to the same time every day. Even if you do not, your dog will soon start reminding you that it is time to go out. This can be an excellent motivation to help you go outdoors at least twice daily, but try to schedule walks in the morning or afternoon when the summer heat is dialed back. In addition, it is a great way to bond with your dog, which can also work wonders for your mood.
- Inculcate positive thinking
‘Positive thinking’ may not sound too useful for increasing physical activity, but it can work as a motivating factor. Visualize yourself achieving your goals – it may be running in the fresh morning air, fitting into an old pair of jeans, or the sense of pride you get when you see your muscles developing. This method can not only reduce stress, but also egg you on to stick to your exercise routine as the visualization technique makes things appear more achievable than you previously thought. Keep the visualization going by setting up a “Summer Happiness” board with pictures of anything that makes you happy such as crystal clear ocean water, a tall glass of lemonade, or a colorful pool float. Looking at the board every day will remind you of your goals, and give you a little mood boost to boot.
- Keep an activity log
Written things have more effect than thoughts, so start jotting down details of your daily exercise and keep this log somewhere visible. Even a calendar can work great. Each day that you miss your workout, put a big, red “X” mark on the date. If these start building up, you will soon kick yourself into action to keep those negative marks from recurring as summer quickly approaches. Your body needs physical activity, but don’t forget to get adequate rest. Consider keeping a sleep log to keep track of your sleep and wake times to make sure you are getting enough hours of natural sleep each night. Sleep gives your body a chance to reset and recharge so that you are ready to tackle your daily tasks, as well as your workout.
- Introduce a fun factor
One sure shot way of getting regular exercise is to find an activity that you enjoy doing. Going swimming just because your colleagues do will make you quit sooner or later. It can be anything – dancing, running, a recently-learned sport, or martial arts. You can even join a class so that you have others around you who enjoy the same activity. Another trick is to develop interest in your chosen sport by learning about the industry, equipment, and so on. A well-informed player is more likely to keep doing an activity compared to others.
Less than 21 percent of people meet the physical activity guidelines, which is a dismal scenario. Not getting the required amount of exercise makes you feel guilty as time passes, and it can also have serious health conditions like obesity. So use these tips to motivate yourself, find activities that suit you the best, chalk out a plan for healthy eating, and get going in preparation for summer.
Picture by PixaBay
Travis White considers himself a foodie and loves sharing his cooking tips and recipes. He is the resident foodie of learnfit.org.