Monday, 1 October 2012

12 Tips For Getting Regular Exercise

Psychosomatic: mind and body. The two are connected in so many ways that one directly affects the other. We can alter our thoughts to change our body (hypnosis) or we can alter our bodies (exercise) to change our thoughts and emotions. If we want to be happy and healthy neither the mind or the body should be ignored. 

The article below was written by Gretchen Rubin for and gives some great tips on how we can keep our bodies in condition. At the end I have added a few tips of my own.

Exercise is a KEY to happiness. Research shows that people who exercise are healthier, more energetic, think more clearly, sleep better, and have delayed onset of dementia. They get relief from anxiety and mild depression. They perform better at work.
Also, although it’s tempting to flop down on the couch when you’re feeling exhausted, exercise is actually a great way to boost energy levels. Feeling tired is a reason to exercise, not a reason to skip exercise.

But even when you admit that you’d feel better if you exercised, it can be very hard to adopt the habit. My idea of fun has always been to lie in bed, reading, preferably while also eating a snack – but I’ve managed to keep myself exercising over the years by using all these tricks on myself:

1. Always exercise on Monday. This sets the psychological pattern for the week. Along the same lines…
2. If at all possible, exercise first thing in the morning. As the day wears on, you’ll find more excuses to skip exercising. Get it checked off your list, first thing. It's also a very nice way to start the day; even if nothing else goes right, you've accomplished that.
3. Never skip exercising for two days in a row. You can skip a day, but the next day, you must exercise, no matter how inconvenient. (Lately, I haven't been following this rule, and it has really affected my routine for the worse. I'm going to re-double my commitment to it.)
4. Give yourself credit for the smallest effort. My father always said that all he had to do was put on his running shoes and close the door behind him. Many times, by promising myself I could quit ten minutes after I’d started, I got myself to start – and then found that I didn’t want to quit, after all.
5. Think about context. I thought I disliked weight-training, but in fact, I disliked the guys who hung out in the weight-training area. Are you distressed about the grubby showers in your gym? Do you try to run in the mornings, but recoil from going out in the cold? Examine the factors that might be discouraging you from exercising.
6. Exercise several times a week. If your idea of exercise is to join games of pick-up basketball, you should be playing practically every day. Twice a month isn’t enough.
7. If you don’t have time both to exercise and take a shower, find a way to exercise that doesn't require you to shower afterwards. Each week, I have a very challenging weight-training session, but the format I follow doesn't make me sweat. (Some of you are saying, “It can’t be challenging if you don’t sweat!” Oh yes, believe me, it is.)
8. Look for affordable ways to make exercising more pleasant or satisfying. Could you upgrade to a nicer or more convenient gym? Buy yourself a new iPod? Work with a trainer? Get a pedometer to keep track of your walking distances? Exercise is a high life priority, so this a worthwhile place to spend some money if that helps.
9. Think of exercise as part of your essential preparation for times you want to be in especially fine form -- whether in performance (to be sharp for an important presentation) or appearance (to look good for a wedding) or mood (to deal with a stressful situation). In college, my roommates and I always made sure to exercise the day of a big party. Studies show that exercise does help.
10. Remember one of my favorite Secrets of Adulthood, courtesy of Voltaire: Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Don’t decide it’s only worth exercising if you can run five miles or if you can bike for an hour. I have a friend who scorns exercise unless she’s training for a marathon -- so she never exercises. Even going for a ten-minute walk is worthwhile. Do what you can.
11. Suit up. Even if you're not sure you're going to exercise, go ahead and put on your exercise clothes. Pack your bag. Put the dog's leash by the door. Get prepared. If you're ready to go, you might find it easier just to go ahead and exercise. Sometimes, a very trivial thing -- like not knowing where your shoes are -- gets in the way.
12. Don’t kid yourself. Paying for a gym membership doesn’t mean you go to the gym. Having been in shape in high school or college doesn’t mean you’re in shape now. Saying that you don’t have time to exercise doesn’t make it true.
People often ask me, “So if I want to be happier, what should I be doing?” and I always say, “The first thing to do is to make sure you’re getting plenty of sleep and some exercise.”
I know, that answer doesn’t sound properly transcendent and high-minded on the subject of happiness, but research shows that you’d be wise to start there. And I’ve found that if I’m feeling energetic and well-rested, I find it much easier to follow all my other happiness-inducing resolutions.

...more tips

  • If you're like me and don't have a maid to clean the house... do it vigorously maybe to some music and work up a sweat. Your house gets really clean and you get healthy at the same time...
  • Don't like gyms? Or the membership fees? Turn your home into a place you can work out in comfort for free. Many exercises require no equipment, there are many DVD's on the market of excellent quality for any standard of fitness and basic equipment can be bought for a tiny fraction of a years membership fees.
  • Leave your car in the garage. A two minute drive vs a 15 minute walk... you will come to enjoy it.
  • Eat correctly. A bad diet including many sugars does nothing for natural energy levels. Proteins and vegetables always give me the juice to get up and go that junk food wont. 
  • Find music that gives you a buzz, and use it to your advantage to get moving. 
  • Work out with a friend... its a big motivating factor and 30 minutes on an exercise bike can zip by when you are talking and joking.
  • Keep a picture of yourself in a place you will always see it (and perhaps others wont) possibly alongside a picture of someone with a body you would like to have yourself. This imagery will serve as motivation; you will instantly understand the connection between what you don't want to look like and what you do, and looking at it every day will drum this message firmly into your subconscious mind.
  • Learn to switch off when exercising. If your conscious mind is very loud when you are out on a run the whole process can be very tough, and time barely seems to move. You must allow yourself to switch off, turn inward and almost drift away while you are exercising - like meditating while moving at the same time. 

What do you think about these tips? Do you have something useful to share that others would find helpful?


Elena Garza said...

jajaja, " if don't have a maid", I really liked it, very optimistic...

Tummy Tuck Belt said...

Thanks for sharing these tips. It would make sense to exercise each Monday since it's considered the beginning of the work week. Good read.

Greg said...

Monday is my favourite day of the week for exercise... 'start as you mean to go on' haha