Spring into Action
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Spring is in the air, and it is the perfect time to get moving. As you find more motivation to get outside, you might be wondering how to keep that motivation going as you build a lasting exercise routine. A few simple steps of preparation can help you get started and stay on track this season.
Finding motivation can be tricky. While we might have that initial spark to start moving, how do we stay motivated? Busy days, unexpected schedule changes, and fatigue can all steal our motivation.
Use the tips below to help find long-lasting motivation:
Choose Your “Why.” Think about why exercise is important to you. You might have goals that you want to reach or an example you would like to follow. No matter where your motivation starts, take it a step further and personalize it. Write down your “why” and keep it in a place where you will see it frequently.
Embrace the Benefits. Exercise has so many benefits, from disease prevention to weight management. While some may not happen overnight, there are immediate benefits from exercise. The American College of Sports Medicine reminds us that even short bursts of physical activity can reduce stress and improve mood.
Think About Perspective. Sometimes our workouts can feel like one more thing to check off our “to-do” list. Try flipping your perspective and think about how exercise is something you get to do. Having a more positive outlook towards exercise can enhance our motivation.
Make it Enjoyable. Thankfully, there are a lot of different ways to exercise! If you enjoy walking outside, then think about going for a hike. Or if you like watching a certain tv show, then think about how you can incorporate some exercise while watching it. Find ways to make your routine as enjoyable to you as possible.
Now that you have the motivation, it is time to think about getting started. Take the following steps to set your routine up for success.
Talk with Your Doctor. If you have significant medical problems, talk to your doctor about realistic strategies. Everybody can exercise but some of us need to pay attention to potential limits.
Start Slowly. Begin slowly with workouts you can complete with confidence and ease. Gradually increase intensity and frequency as you build up to the recommended 150+ minutes of aerobic activity and 2-3 days of strength exercises each week. Beginning with too much too fast can lead to soreness, skipped workouts, injury, and feeling burnt out. Keep in mind that rest days are necessary for recovery and progress.
Set a Schedule. Find a spot in your existing routine where you can regularly fit in your workouts. Be specific with when and where you plan to exercise. Practice setting your workout schedule for the week so you can plan around upcoming obstacles ahead of time.
Keeping Up the Habit
Getting started may be a battle on its own but the key is to turn exercise into a long-lasting habit. Try the following strategies to keep your workout habit going all year long.
Think About Your Plan B. The best-made plans can always change, but those changes do not have to throw you off. When setting your schedule, take time to also have a contingency play for any days that do not go according to schedule. For example, if it is rainy when you are supposed to go for a walk, try an indoor walking video instead. Or, if your usual workout time gets derailed by an unexpected meeting, set aside an extra ten minutes in the morning or the evening to complete a quick workout.
Add Variety. Variety in your exercise routine is important for many reasons. Not only will diverse exercises keep you from getting bored, but they will also help minimize injury and ensure a balanced workout.
Stay Accountable. Keeping yourself accountable is one of the most important ways to stay on track. Accountability can come in many forms, such as a workout buddy, an app, or keeping a log on a calendar. Choose a form of accountability that works best for you and challenges you in a positive way.
Track Your Progress. No matter how big or small, track your progress and celebrate your success. Continue your momentum all year long by paying attention to the victories as you become more physically fit.
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