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7 Ways to Change the Way You Think about Exercise

No one will argue that to be your healthiest you absolutely have to eat well and exercise. But sometimes getting off the sofa is hard. Sometimes you need a little mindset adjustment to get yourself going. Fact: if you change your mind, you can change your life.

1) STOP your stoppers

Your “stoppers” are the thoughts in your head that keep you from taking action. Things like an all-or-nothing attitude or overly high expectations fall into this category. We are all guilty of making excuses to stay out of the gym but if you can identify what’s holding you back you are nearly guaranteed to move forward.

If you are convinced you hate exercise, disguise it by pairing physical activity with fun. Go window shopping at a really big shopping centre. Ride bikes with your family. Or take the dog on a long scenic walk.

If you think you’re too busy to exercise get realistic. EVERYONE can find five or ten minutes here and there to build a daily workout plan. You need at least 150 minutes a week but short bursts of activity count and they’ll make you more productive too!

If you think you aren’t coordinated enough to workout remember that exercise isn’t PE class and you are not thirteen. You don’t need to be embarrassed because you can’t do a pull up. You are in control and you can choose any activity that gets you moving including walking.

2) Don’t let excuses and negative self-talk keep you from the healthy, happy life you want. Celebrate yourself

When you finish a workout and sweat is pouring down your back, congratulate yourself. When you wake up in the morning and your muscles are sore from the day before, give yourself a pat on the back. When you get your heart rate up and you’re short of breath, know that you pushed yourself to your limit.

Athletes see all these things as marks of success. No need to criticize yourself for being out of shape. Sweat, soreness, and feeling spent are the ways your body tells you that it’s growing stronger, faster, and more fit. Take time to celebrate how hard you are working and let yourself feel proud.

3) Expect setbacks and push through

There are always setbacks in any workout plan. Expect the obstacles and figure out ways to overcome them. That’s part of the challenge of getting fit. The weather, injuries, and other people will stand in your way. How will you conquer these challenges and keep at it?

Inevitably when you plan on a long bike ride, it’s going to rain. Snow will close the gym. It will be too hot to go for a run. How are you going to workout anyway?

Maybe you will twist your ankle or pull a muscle. Injuries create roadblocks for your regular workout but they can inspire you to try something new. For instance if running gives you shin splints, try riding a stationary bike.

Your kids are grumpy. Your boss is angry. Your friend is in crisis. Take the kids to the park. Brainstorm your work project while you lift. Take your girlfriend on a “walk and talk” session. No one can stand in the way of your fitness unless you let them.

If you accept that nothing ever goes 100% smoothly, you can expect obstacles and make overcoming them part of your plan.

4) Create a habit

When working out is something you “try to fit into your day,” it will be pretty easy to push it off so many times it never gets done. If you create a regular exercise routine you won’t ever have to MAKE time to exercise, it will simply BE time to exercise.

Look at your weeks and your days. Could you squeeze it in three days a week before work? Are there certain days you could exercise on your lunch hour? Once you make working out a habit, you’ll begin saving all the time and energy it used to take to get yourself going and you’ll be able to devote that time and energy to getting fit.

5) Respect your limits

You know yourself so learn to be honest about what you are up to and what you are not. There is no point in pushing yourself so hard that you get injured or lose heart. Taking on too much can make you want to quit so treat yourself with kindness and respect. Be realistic but encouraging.

If you aren’t sure what you are ready for or you haven’t been active in a while, don’t be afraid to consult your doctor before you get started. You have to begin where you are. Sometimes it’s hard to accept that you can’t jump in and do the workout you did in your twenties but you will be safer, healthier, and more successful if you are truthful with yourself and you respect what you are capable of doing today.

Self-knowledge and self-awareness will let you set better goals and ultimately support better health.

6) Count regular activities

Make your regular activities count! Vacuuming, window washing, floor scrubbing, gardening work, or painting the family room all get your body going. Keep your daily activities moving and they count as calorie burning exercise.

It’s easy to get bogged down in a traditional definition of “work out” but any physical activity that gets your heart rate up and keeps you in motion is exercise. Plus you get the added benefit of taking care of your daily activities. That means your house will be spotless, your garden will be tidy, and your waist will be tiny.

7) Make it FUN

Get outside the gym! If you find you’re dragging yourself into the gym then maybe it’s time to rethink your workout plan. There are so many ways to get your exercise without heading to the cardio or weight rooms.

Why not try horseback riding? Playing frisbee? Going kayaking? Rollerblading? Going for a hike? Trying rock climbing? Or taking a dance class? If you can make getting your exercise fun you will be a hundred times more likely to want to do it.

If you are a social person, join a class or get a workout buddy. If you’re a reader, try a great book while you’re on the elliptical or a book on tape while you lift.

Your brain is the most important tool you have to achieve the healthy, happy lifestyle you deserve. Truly, the way you think about fitness and weight loss determines your success. So start thinking creatively. Give yourself a fresh perspective on working out and you’ll find it so much easier to get up, get out, and get going.

You know you deserve to feel great about yourself again. Now get out there and win it!

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