Published on 2011-08-18 by Elisa Zied, MS, RD, CDN
Ahhh, exercise. Easier said than done, right? I personally love to do it. My favorite activities? Taking a long walk or hike outside solo (listening to music) or with a friend, taking a class like tap dancing or Zumba, or doing some sort of weight training (think lunges, squats, and abdominal exercises). I consider exercise and being active just as important to my daily routine as brushing my teeth, and definitely feel the effects when I skip a day.
I usually plan to do some sort of formal exercise first thing in the morning. But I also try to be mindful to keep active throughout the day and walk places instead of taking a cab or public transportation. And with the exception of when I write at my desk, I try to not sit for too long of a stretch.
When work or life get in the way of my exercise, I chalk it up to one of those days, and get back on track the next day.
There are countless studies that say exercise is oh so good for our hearts and our overall health. But for me, exercise is something that I do mainly because it helps me feel better both physically and mentally. My body feels and works better when I move it more, and I have a sense of accomplishment each and every time I set and achieve an exercise goal, even if it’s a relatively small one. And I’m in complete agreement with David Katz, MD, Director and founder of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center. According to Katz, “We are animals, with a native animal vitality too many of us squander!” He says exercise enables us to unleash that vitality. That it does!
Unfortunately, not everyone loves to exercise–and it make sense that if you don’t enjoy something, you don’t make an effort to do it. Oprah admittedly doesn’t like to exercise, but she makes herself do it because she knows how important it is.
A few days ago, a blog I wrote about the Weekly Fitness Challenge was posted on caloriecount.com. That blog and the tips below are designed to inspire and motivate you–whether you’re new to exercise or have had trouble in the past getting into a regular fitness routine–to take at least one small step towards living a more fit and active life.
- Shuffle it up! Putting 20-30 motivating songs on your ipod or phone can make exercise feel easier and be more enjoyable. Knowing you’ll have good music to listen to when you exercise will also give you something to look forward to and may inspire you to stay on target.
- Acknowledge improvement, even if it seems small. If you walk for 20 minutes every day or every other day during the first week, and bump it up to 22 minutes the second week, pat yourself on the back! Know that any improvement is a step in the right direction.
Tammy Lakatos Shames & Lyssie Lakatos,The Nutrition Twins®, registered dietitians and personal trainers
- Believe in yourself. It’s easy to skip workouts or begin to get impatient when you’re looking for results. Positivity is a great motivator. Always remind yourself why you’re exercising, and that may motivate you to stay on course.
- Have fun! Start with something you’ll enjoy and have fun with it–whether its ballroom dancing, walking, or doing yoga.
Rebecca Scritchfield, a Washington, DC-based registered dietitian and health & fitness specialist, and the “mother of me time.”
- Enlist the help of a friend. People have workout partners for a reason…they keep them company and they help them stay motivated!
- Cross Train. Vary activities to keep yourself motivated and interested. Whether you take a group class like Zumba, spinning, or pilates, or use weight and/or cardio machines, it all counts as exercise.
Please share your own tip for staying motivated to exercise.
Elisa Zied, MS, RD, CDN
The material on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Consult a licensed medical professional for the diagnosis and treatment of all medical conditions and before starting a new diet or exercise program. If you have a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.