By Sanuri Perera
It takes a huge effort to get into the habit of exercising regularly but its takes even more to stay at it. With the weather constantly fluctuating and late nights, it surely is difficult to get out of bed early morning to go for a walk or head to the gym. One of the important decisions when planning your workout routine is to make sure it isn’t positioned to fail. If you are not a morning person and prefer to sleep in, perhaps a morning run isn’t the best daily exercise for you to get into. There are many people who prefer to take an hour during their lunch time or after work to go to the closest gym or park for a walk. Another way to keep motivated and dedicated to your workout plan is to spice things up a bit. Be innovative and give yourself a challenge and try and enjoy your exercise. Even the most dedicated exercisers occasionally get bored with their routine. Needing motivation, cutting short the daily time for exercise and not having that old enthusiasm you started out with are signs of a stale exercise regimen. This doesn’t mean giving up; this means that you just need to re-energize your routine.
Here are a few tips for you to stay motivated with your exercise routine:
Change of scenery
Vary your routine or change your scenery. A new environment for your favourite exercise activity will keep your motivation going. Don’t run on the same route every day. Why not explore a new side of town or go into a different park every week. You can even try asking around to see if there are any places or groups of people who get together and jog in different places. If you are a regular gym-goer then getting outdoors and getting in some fresh air would be ideal. Why not take your daily treadmill run onto the beautiful ground of Independence Square. Also try and vary your exercise activity. If you normally go for a walk or jog alone, why not try taking your pet with you and give them some exercise as well, or try out an activity that you always wanted to like - cardio kickboxing or step aerobics. Even zumba and power yoga have a huge audience in Sri Lanka. Instead of sticking to the same route or gym routine, try and fit in a group class twice or thrice a week to spice up your workout routine and keep you going.
Get some support
We all need some extra support when exercising and it is not always a trainer or coach. Sometimes you just need someone who is going through the same routine. Try and find a workout buddy. It doesn’t have to be a good friend or family member. You just need to find someone who needs as much motivation as you do. An exercise companion adds a social element to your routine and will help the time go faster when working out. It will also ensure that you both end up going for exercise as you both will motivate each other. Ask a friend or colleague to be your workout partner or find someone at your exercise place. You will definitely not skip on your workout if someone is waiting for you.
We all love reaching our targets; whether it is work targets or personal goals, we always strive to reach them and feel inspired and happy when we do. This can work to your advantage when trying to keep fit. If you are a person who is trying to lose a certain amount of weight, make your plan and set the mini milestones within. By a certain date after a certain amount of activity you are going to lose x number of kilos. This will give your entire workout meaning and hope. Reaching those mini milestones will keep you going and will monitor your results. Once you see your progress you will want to keep on going.
Make it exciting
Another way to keep you entertained during your exercise routine is to treat yourself to a workout gadget or accessory. Perhaps an iPod to entertain you as you workout, a heart-rate monitor, aquatic toy or other exercise gadgets you can find in the market place. Depending on your activity make your workouts more fun and challenging for yourself.
Keep an exercise log to track your progress. This can be done in line with your mini milestones as well. If you aren’t sure of the progress you are making towards your goal then start a workout log. It allows you to track your goals, monitor your progress and adjust your routines accordingly.
Today, not tomorrow
Life is full of obstacles. There are unexpected appointments, illness and setbacks that are bound to happen sooner or later and this might result in you having to miss a day or two of exercise. Don’t let this few missed days turn into weeks and months of skipping. Say to yourself ‘Today, not tomorrow’, and as soon as you are well get back on that workout routine. A day missed is a day of exercise gone. But there is no point thinking of the past, think of the now and start again. Don’t give up on yourself so easy and don’t let yourself get you down. There is always hope.
Everyone loves to be rewarded for a job well done. You too deserve such rewards and when reaching your milestones a treat is indeed in order. Treat yourself to some sort of indulgence. Try and make it something like a massage or an evening out. Try not to make it about food, like one litre of chocolate ice-cream but instead something like Japanese food or a day of pampering at the spa. This is key to staying motivated.
Focus on the good
Focus on how good the workout makes you look and feel. The compliments you are getting from family and co-workers. Keep these all in mind and remember that feeling of being incredibly satisfied and healthy after a workout. Use these to keep yourself motivated the next time you're thinking about blowing off a workout.
Take some time off
If all else fails, take a break from exercise. Sometimes a lack of motivation is your body's way of telling you to take a break. If anything hurts, or if your energy is running low, take a break for a few days before resuming your workouts. You might want to check with a physician if you have any injuries or extreme muscle pain. Sometimes your body needs a bit of R&R and this in turn will renew your motivation.
Keep in mind these tips to keep your routine and motivation going.
Good luck to the new and motivated you!!