Tips for Sticking With Exercise
Everyone starts exercising with the best of intentions, but sticking with fitness for the long haul can be challenging. That’s because you have to turn exercise into a habit, and experts say that can take up to eight months.
So how do you stay motivated?
“In my experience, people stay with an exercise routine that is quick, fun, and has a lot of variety,” says Antonio Grajo, Jr., M.Ed., a certified strength training and conditioning specialist and a HealthFitness program manager in Providence. “It also has to be realistic. If it’s too hard, people tend to give up. If it’s too easy, people get bored.”
Antonio offers these tips to help you overcome common hurdles to exercising.
HURDLE: “It's too expensive.”
SOLUTION : Try low-cost alternatives.
Antonio says that simple exercises that we’ve been doing since childhood—such as walking, running, and jogging—are still terrific ways to get fit. And you don’t need a fitness professional to correct your form.
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HURDLE: “I’m bored.”
SOLUTION : Keep experimenting.
If you hate running or using the elliptical machine, don’t! Instead, try different types of exercise—like Zumba or yoga—until you find one that’s fun. “Don’t forget about sports,” says Antonio. “You can play tennis, basketball, and soccer or start swimming or skiing.” Find local adult sports leagues or exercise with family and friends to make your workout more enjoyable—and keep each other moving.
HURDLE: “I don’t have time anymore.”
SOLUTION : Sneak in exercise whenever you can.
“Taking the stairs or walking your dog are great ways to make exercise a regular part of your day,” says Antonio. “You can also get in a short workout first thing in the morning, while watching television, or during a break in your day.” It can be helpful to schedule time for exercise into your calendar.
Here’s a quick but intense workout that Antonio recommends.
- 20 jumping jacks
- 20 push-ups (on your knees or on your toes)
- 20 squats
Work up to doing that cycle three times in a row.
HURDLE: “I’m not seeing results.”
SOLUTION : Focus on exercising itself, not the end results.
Keep in mind that noticeable changes take time, and exercise is improving your health in ways you cannot see. Regular exercise reduces stress, boosts your energy, improves your sleep, and lowers your risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer.