“I have never taken any exercise except sleeping and resting.” – Mark Twain
Summer is slowly winding down.
Vacations are wrapping up as students are getting ready to head back to school. Soon, sun screen and flip flops will be replaced with notebooks and protractors. This is the time of year when most families begin to transition from summer’s spontaneity and to a more established routine.
This is also a good time to reestablish your exercise routine. If you are like me, summer may have caused you to veer off track with your workouts. But you can take advantage of your family’s return to a predictable schedule by adding exercise back to your daily plan.
If you need help with finding the inspiration to get going again, consider these eight ways to energize your exercise routine and soon you will be back in your regular rhythm:
1. Make exercise a priority.
Too often exercise is the last thing you plan to do. Consider making your workout a higher priority item. Block-out the time, put it on your calendar, or wake-up 30 minutes earlier. If you take an honest inventory of how you spend your time each day, you may find the time you watch television, read email, or surf the Internet could be redirected to help you re-energize your exercise routine.
2. Get plenty of sleep.
Fatigue, both physical and emotional, can be a deterrent to maintaining a healthy and consistent exercise program. Make sure you are fully rested each day. Most experts agree that seven to nine hours of sleep is ideal. If you feel you are too tired to stick to your workout regime, consider getting more sleep in order to have more energy to devote to it.
3. Vary your routine.
Boredom and monotony can settled in quickly if you do the same thing every time you work out. Do a different cardiovascular exercise each time. For example, hit the treadmill one day and ride the stationary bicycle the next. Also, vary your weight-lifting schedule. Isolate a different part of your body for each workout and work those muscles hard. Hit your arms and shoulders one day, your back the next, etc.
4. Put the fun back.
If you aren’t having fun, you will probably not be doing it for very long. Have fun with your exercise. Jump into a pick-up game of basketball or take a swim. When you have fun, your exercise commitment becomes less of a chore and something that can truly lift your spirits and cause you to smile – something you can look forward to each day!
5. Exercise with a friend.
Working out with a friend is not only a good way to spend time with someone who is important to you, it also provides for an instant accountability partner. Ask your friend to help hold you accountable to your exercise program. Ask him or her to not let you off the hook if you say you are too busy or too tired. When commitments and goals are shared, they are more easily reached.
6. Listen to music or watch television.
Running or using the elliptical machine takes time and it takes patience. To help pass the time, bring along a MP3 player or check-out some television. If you combine something you really like to do (listen to music) or do some multi-tasking (catch-up on the news while getting some cardio done) you are more likely to stay committed to your exercise program.
7. Keep an exercise log to monitor your progress.
Written goals are more powerful than unarticulated ones. Each month write down your stats. For example: (1) completed a two-mile run in 18 minutes, or (2) bench-pressed 150 lbs x 10. Soon you will see your two-mile run is being accomplished in 17 minutes. This written record is a testament to your persistence and commitment. It is also a great encourager to keep you motivated.
8. Give yourself a break now and then.
Exercise should be a part of your life; it should not control your life. When you get the invitation to meet your friends after work for drinks or meet your partner for an unplanned dinner, go for it! Your gym, and your routine, will be waiting for you tomorrow.
About Alex Blackwell