Did you know that exercise is really just sustained physical activity. Some people think of the word exercise, and they immediately react negatively. Today I want you to think about these things instead:
- Playing catch or tag with your children or grandchildren
- Cycling with a friend
- Enjoying a day on the water, stand up paddle boarding, kayaking or canoeing
- Hiking or camping with the family
You probably just experienced happy thoughts, or at least positive ones, when you read through that short list. That’s a good thing; because the 3 activities listed above are just a few that qualify as exercise.
Exercise does not have to mean lifting heavy weights in sweaty, dirty gyms where your risk of contracting colds, flu and diseases is immediately raised as soon as you step inside. It also does not have to mean painful running sessions that go on for miles and miles.
Anytime you are physically active, especially on a regular basis, you maintain a healthy body weight, enjoy a mental boost and improved mood, and help make your body stronger, more fit and better looking. (Who doesn’t want that?)
However, so many people have busy, hectic lifestyles these days. So how are you going to find time to exercise? The following are 10 proven methods for making exercise a part of your daily schedule, tips and strategies for keeping physically active that anyone can put into practice starting today.
1 – Focus on a Goal or End Result, Not the Exercise Itself
Pretend you decided to do some body weight exercises today – 10 lunges 10 sit-ups, 10 pull-ups and 10 push-ups. If you simply stare at the wall and count off repetitions, you can get bored and distracted before you even get started.
Instead of thinking about the exercise or physical activity you are performing, picture a mental image of your body and your mind-set when you are fit and in shape. Think of how you are going to look and feel, the compliments your friends and co-workers are going to shower you with. In other words, keep the goal of your physical fitness in sight at all times.
It doesn’t matter if you are miles away from your intended fitness destination. You will find daily exercise much easier and more consistent if you keep your mind motivated to drive your body to an eventual goal.
2 – Plan Ahead
Have you ever gone on a vacation?
Did you just wait until you knew you would be off of work for several days and then jump in your vehicle and start driving somewhere? Probably not. You plan all of the important things in your life, don’t you? Transportation to work, study time for school, celebrations and parties with friends and family – you plan all these activities well in advance.
Why not use the same, simple but effective strategy with your physical fitness routine?
Your brain can be programmed to do certain things at certain times. When you plan ahead, your brain instantly remembers that date and time is reserved, and is important. After several repetitions, especially if you work your exercise program into a particular day and time schedule, you develop a habit that is hard to break.
Plan your physical activity in advance. Write it down, read it out loud if you need to, and refer to it often. This drastically increases your ability to make exercise a part of your daily routine.
3 – Commit to One Month No Matter What
Have you written down your plan? Are you ready to get started, following a consistent schedule of physical fitness? Great! Now plan that schedule at least 30 days in advance.
Several studies have shown that human beings tend to get used to things that happen on a certain schedule after 20 to 30 consistent repetitions. This means that your mind immediately knows what you are going to do at a particular time on a certain day.
You can use this programmability in your favor. After all, wouldn’t it be great to catch yourself automatically and unconsciously enjoying physical activity on a daily basis without having to nag and force yourself to do so? Of course it would. Plan for at least 30 days of consistent daily, physical fitness, and use the next 2 attempts to further guarantee your success.
4 – Get an Accountability Partner
This is one of the oldest physical fitness tricks in the business.
You often see bodybuilders and weightlifters pushing their partner to finish one last repetition, one last set. This is because even the most dedicated physical fitness aficionado gets bored, tired or just downright lazy from time to time.
That is why you need an accountability partner. Make sure that this is someone who also wants to establish daily fitness activities in his or her life. It should be someone that you get along with, so when they call to remind you that it’s time to exercise or workout, you don’t stare at your caller ID and let the call go to voice-mail.
People tend to hang out and associate with others that are like themselves. That means you probably have 1 or 2 friends that would make a perfect accountability partner, since they understand the benefits of regular exercise as well.
Summer time is just around the corner and a great time to get into a new healthier routine so if you would like me to be your accountability partner I would love for you to join me and other women for a 30 day online shred program. It’s about shredding old habits, gaining a new mind-set, learning simple daily health tips, getting great recipes and more. We start June 19th. Get more details here
5 – Form a “Gang”
What is better than a single accountability partner? How about a gang full of them?! You definitely need to have 1 person who is your main go-to guy or gal that keeps you honest and consistent when it comes to a daily exercise routine.
That is a proven strategy for exercise success. Taking that idea and multiplying it by several like-minded individuals improves your chances for success even further. That is why running clubs, biking groups, hiking clubs and mall walking organizations are so prevalent.
When you consistently spend your time with other people that want to be active on a daily basis, you will too.
6 – Start off Slow and Smart
By now you are probably excited and ready to get exercising immediately. That is definitely a good thing. Unfortunately, one of the leading causes of a failed daily exercise plan is injury.
It is virtually impossible to go from interactive couch sloth to “super-fit active person” in a short period of time. You are probably out of shape and craving physical fitness because of the years of inactivity you have experienced.
Start slow. Extremely slow if you have to. Simply standing instead of setting is a start. You burn up to 50 more calories when you stand for 1 hour rather than sitting. And you burn 200, 500 and as much as 1,000 calories per hour when you are physically active.
This includes something as simple as taking the dog for a walk, taking the stairs instead of the elevator and walking to your lunch destination rather than driving.
7 – Get Some Professional Help
Be honest with yourself. Do you know that you have a tendency to lazily blow off a scheduled exercise appointment? Why not spend some money on a professional workout program or system?
Sometimes, when people spend their hard-earned money on a physical fitness regimen, they are more likely to stay involved. And getting professional guidance can guarantee that you get the quickest results possible, with the shortest amount of time invested.
Whether you simply want to max out your results or you need an expert to push you to a level of consistent repetition, seeking fitness guidance from a professional trainer or athlete might not be a bad idea.
8 – Have Fun, Do Not “Exercise”
Remember in the first paragraph where we mentioned that “exercise” is often considered a dirty word? Unfortunately, that is the case for many. If that is your mind-set, schedule fun physical activities rather than traditional exercise sessions.
High intensity interval training (HIIT) is regarded by many as a premier way to burn fat and build muscle in a very short period of time. It involves short bursts of intense physical activity combined with low intensity rest periods. Doesn’t that sound like the physical fitness experience you get when you are chasing your grand-kids around the backyard?
The key here is to look for things that you like to do, or would like to try for the first time, that involves physical activity. Work them into your daily schedule, and you will never think of yourself as “having to exercise” again.
9 – Exercise Before Heading to Work…
This one makes sense for so many reasons. If you are going to make exercise a part of your daily life, why not do it first thing in the morning? This guarantees that you have it out of the way, and you will feel great as you head into your day.
Another benefit here comes from the fact that life is very unpredictable. You probably keep incredibly busy each day. But from time to time, things unexpectedly arrive that you have to take care of. This could lead to you missing a planned day of physical fitness.
That is why when you schedule exercise before you head to work, you virtually guarantee that it happens. Multiple studies have also shown that when people exercise in the morning, they are more productive throughout the day. You also crank up your metabolism first thing, so that mid-morning sweet, sugary snack does not have as big of a negative impact.
10 – …Or Just After Work
Hey, let’s face it. You may not be a morning person. If you are one of those that begrudgingly rolls out of bed at the last minute, grabs your car keys and heads straight to work in the morning, that’s okay.
Move your workout, exercise session or fun physical activity to a post-work schedule. This will give you something to look forward to during a long, hard workday. You get a mental and physical burst of positive energy when you exercise. This means that even if your workday did not go as planned, you will feel great when you are through working out and heading for home.
These are just a few methods that have been proven to help people succeed in developing a daily physical fitness routine. The bottom line with each and every one of them is creating a mind-set that makes physical fitness a desired and enjoyable activity.
So make a plan today. Commit to at least 30 days. Schedule fun events and activities in a social setting that keep you active and moving. If you do, your attempts to work exercise into a daily schedule will not only be successful, but they will be enjoyable as well, while delivering the physical results you are looking for.