Exercise Habits: 5 Tips to Make Exercise Stick!

Are you one of those people who has a really hard time creating exercise habits that stick?

You’re not alone. Long work hours here in the Silicon Valley combined with multiple after-school activities for kids as well as volunteer and social commitments really eat up the hours in our days.

It’s common knowledge that regular exercise helps us maintain a healthy weight, manage stress and decrease our risk for some diseases. Even with the knowledge of how important regular exercise is to our well-being, we often don’t do it.

Becoming a regular exerciser really comes down to making physical activity a habit. Over time, your habits become part of who you are. As a San Jose personal trainer, I work with my clients on activities and behaviors that will help instill a habit of regular exercise into their lifestyle. It’s not easy, but will repeated practice, you really can become a regular exerciser. You’ll actually feel the need to exercise because you feel better when you do and worse when you don’t!

Here are my top 5 tips for making exercise a regular habit:

1) Pick an activity you enjoy

If you can’t stand doing it—you’re going to find every excuse in the book NOT to do it! If you hate swimming, just don’t even think about starting a swim program. If you really think you hate ALL forms of exercise, pick the least objectionable activity 😉 . Keep an open mind as to what the term “exercise” encompasses. You might need to move away from the concept of a regimented “workout” (say, a group exercise class) towards something we might define more as “physical activity” (perhaps a hike or a pick-up basketball game).

2) Get some social commitment

When someone else is involved—you tend to show up. Get yourself an exercise buddy. And don’t choose a flakey friend! When you have an accountability partner, you’re MUCH more likely to stick to your program. Also, because your activity involves a social component, you’ll likely enjoy it more.

3) Make it a priority

This can be really hard, but I really want you to try it. Think of your exercise program as an appointment you keep with yourself. Just like you keep a dentist appointment—schedule your exercise and SHOW UP. See #2 for a way to make it more likely that you’ll show up (get that friend or co-worker committed to you!).

4) Log your activity

Pedometers are great for counting steps and measuring your activity as are all the activity trackers out there (Jawbone, FitBit, etc). Sometimes just to get a few more steps in, you’ll take the stairs or park your car further away at the mall. I also ask my personal training clients to log how they feel while they exercise. When they look back over past months, they see how far they’ve come and how much their fitness has improved. I’ve found logging activity to be extremely motivational for many of my clients.

5) Reward yourself

Set yourself up for little challenges and rewards. For instance, if you do some sort of physical activity for X days this month, you’ll reward yourself with a trip to a sporting goods store for new gear, or perhaps you’ll gift yourself with a massage. Only reward yourself if you reach the goal you set for yourself.

Good exercise habits take time to develop. Be patient, be consistent and keep repeating these 5 steps to become a regular exerciser who absolutely, positively makes time for exercise because its just part of WHO YOU ARE!

Committed to your success,

Becky

Exercise Motivation: 20 Reasons To Start Exercising (Part 2)

Exercise motivationI’m back with the second half of my list of 20 reasons to start exercising.

If you missed Part 1 of my exercise motivation post, you can see it here.

Remember, if you find yourself losing motivation to exercise–print out this list and post it somewhere so that you have a constant reminder of the benefits of exercise.  The hardest part of working out is just getting up and getting started.

Use reasons 11-20 below to help you get motivated to get up and off the couch!

Ten MORE Reasons to Start Exercising

11. You’ll lose the jiggles: Regular exercise tightens flabby arms, legs and waistlines. So wave goodbye to the jiggles with a solid exercise program.

12. You’ll increase insulin sensitivity: Researchers at Laval University in Quebec discovered that exercise improved insulin sensitivity dramatically. Peak after-meal insulin levels dropped by more than 20 percent after as little as 3 weeks of consistent exercise.

13. You’ll sleep better: Do you toss and turn for hours before falling asleep? Exercise is a powerful sleep aid. Your tired muscles encourage your body to quickly fall asleep so they can get their overnight repair work done.Regular exercise helps you sleep better

14. You’ll lower your risk of heart disease: Regular exercise strengthens your heart and makes it more resilient against disease. A sedentary lifestyle is a major risk factor for heart disease, so rest assured that consistent exercise is your ally against disease.

15. You’ll feel great: Vigorous exercise releases natural endorphins (happy hormones) into your blood stream that dissolve pain and anxiety. You’ve probably heard of ‘runner’s high’, this can be achieved by any great workout.

16. You’ll lower your risk of diabetes: Studies show that exercising as little as half an hour each day can dramatically reduce your risk of diabetes. If you are at risk of diabetes, or already have diabetes, regular exercise is the most effective treatment for reversing the disease.

17. You’ll meet cool people: You could benefit from a group of new, energetic friends, right? Gyms, bootcamps, workout centers and even the jogging trail are all great places to connect with fun new friends.

>>>>>>oh, and there’s always lifeSport Fitness bootcamp in San Jose if you need FUN people with whom to work out  😉 

18. You’ll increase your endurance: Do you ever get out of breath when walking up stairs or through the mall? Regular exercise builds your endurance for everyday activities.

19. Your doctor will be impressed: How many times has your doctor given you the lecture exercising more? Exercise regularly and get your MD off your back!

20. You’ll look amazing: Are you happy with the shape and size of your body? Regular exercise works wonders on your physique. Within a few weeks you’ll see shape and tone in all the right places.

Are you ready to alleviate your anxiety by taking action? Good!

 

Committed to your success,

 

Becky

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Image credits

Exercise Motivation  Quote

Sleeping baby

Exercise Motivation: 20 Reasons To Start Exercising (Part 1)

Motivation to Get Off The Couch The goal of this blog post is to motivate you to take action. Our lives are busy, and exercise motivation can be a real sticking point when you feel your plate is already too full.

I’ll be blunt, though, and tell you that even if you’re busy, it would be a good idea to re-prioritize a few areas in your life to make time for exercise.  If you don’t, you’re eventually going to be sidelined by issues related to poor health and a sedentary lifestyle.

In order to get you motivated to make a lifestyle change, 

I’ve got a list of 20 rewards that you will gain from regular exercise.

I’ll go over the first 10 rewards here, and follow up with another 10 rewards next week.

Do yourself a favor and print this list and post it where you’ll see it every day.

When you need motivation or encouragement, simply read over this list and take action. 

Remember that action alleviates anxiety.

10 Reasons  to Start Exercising

1. You’ll reset your body: Exercise has been described as a giant reset button. A good workout will block appetite swings, improve your mood and even help you sleep.

2. Your clothes will fit better: Consistent exercise will tone and tighten your body, causing your clothes to not only fit better, but to look nicer.

3. You’ll be less stressed: You have enough stress in your life—it’s time for a break ;-). A good workout invigorates your muscles, leaving you relaxed and less stressed.

4. You’ll have more energy: WebMD tallied research studies and concluded that 90% of them prove exercise increases energy levels in sedentary patients. Next time you feel fatigued, fight it with the most powerful tool available: exercise.

5. You’ll be stronger: Exercise improves muscle strength and endurance, two things that you use throughout each day. When you exercise consistently you’ll be pleasantly surprised when difficult tasks begin to seem easy.You get strong when you exercise

6. You’ll be less likely to binge: Exercise has a powerful anti-binge effect on the body. This is due in part to an increase in sensitivity to leptin, a protein hormone which has an appetite-taming effect.

7. You’ll burn calories: You know that excess body fat is made up of stored and unused calories. Rage war against stored fat with calorie-blasting workouts.

8. You’ll be more confident: Who doesn’t wish they walked and talked with more confidence? A consistent exercise program will do just that. As your body becomes more fit, watch your confidence sky-rocket.

9. You’ll have fun: Believe it or not, exercise can be extremely enjoyable. Remember how fun it was to run around as a child? Tap into your inner child as you find a mode of exercise that gets you excited.

>>>>(side note:  If you’re not currently having FUN when you work out, puuuullleeeaaasse contact me about a free trial at a lifeSport Fitness boot camp in San Jose!!)

10. You’ll reduce your blood pressure: Exercise has been proven more effective than medication in reducing blood pressure to normal levels. A single workout has been shown to reduce blood pressure for the day and regular exercise reduces overall blood pressure in the long run.

I think the hardest part about regular exercise is simply getting started.

Hopefully these first 10 reasons have motivated you to get your workout gear on.

I’ll be back with another 10 reasons next week!

 

Committed to your success,

 

Becky

 

Image credits:

Couch Potato

Strong Women

3 Secrets to Achieving Your Exercise Goals

Exercise Goals Finish LineIn my years of fitness coaching, there’s one thing I’ve noticed that keep individuals motivated toward long-term health or exercise goals. It’s connecting what makes them happy to the reward of regular exercise. I’ve seen individuals have tons of willpower at the start of any program, whether it’s a new way eating or new workout program. However, when they don’t connect to their “why,” their reason for making change in their life, it’s not uncommon for the “will” in willpower to become “won’t.”

The good news is that there’s still time to get into shape before summer is in full swing.  If you set specific fitness goals at the beginning of the year, it’s time to dust off those resolutions… but with a twist. Here are three secrets that will keep you on track at the gym, at a boot camp, or on a local walking trail:

1. Make a Specific Plan

Let’s say you’ve got a goal to exercise 3 times a week. Figure out what cues you can add to your environment that will support this goal. If you exercise in the morning, set out your workout clothes before going to bed. Other things can you do that remind you:

  • Put your walking shoes and Fido’s leash near your front door
  • Compile a playlist on your iPod or MP3 player that boosts your mood and puts a spring in your step
  • Make a pact with a workout buddy to meet at the gym. You’ll be more likely to get up and go if you know your friend is waiting for you.

The point here is to break down your exercise goals into small increments that you can achieve. Move from the theoretical to the practical.

2. Visualize

WaikoloaThis is probably the most powerful secret. When you can visualize yourself in a situation that you really want, that’s where positive, long-term change can happen. I’ve got a client who made a collage of her favorite vacation place: Hawaii. Her goal was to be ready for swimsuits and short sleeves. So she found pictures of white sandy beaches, palm trees, and vacationers playing in the surf. She spent time every day looking at her collage, visualizing what it would feel like to confidently wear sleeveless sundresses on Maui.

Studies have shown that those who envision what they want — and feel the good feelings that accompany it — are more likely to achieve their goals. What can you do to visualize your exercise goals?  My client brought her collage with her at the gym, propping it up so she could look at it while on the treadmill. It kept her motivated and happy that she was actively working toward her exercise goals.

Does this sound a bit woo-woo to you? Here’s a scholarly research article from Rutgers University about exercise motivation. When you link something you like (or love) to an activity, your motivation fundamentally changes.

3. Build In Rewards While Working on Exercise Goals

My boot campers know that I’m all about being realistic. At the end of a week I like to enjoy a good glass of wine (may be even two). This routine makes it easier for me to say no to an extra helping of pasta. What kind of rewards can you build into your weekly routine? It’s best if those rewards aren’t food related, something like soak in a bath, a massage or date night at the movies. Long periods of deprivation don’t serve you in the long run. Make a plan, visualize the reward of achieving your exercise goals, and reward yourself along the way.

What other secret would you add to my list?