Walk Talk Series
Day 56 – Stick with your Exercise Routine
After Eight Weeks
How are you doing after 8 weeks with the Walk Program? Are you meeting the goals you set your first week? Have you been changing your goals as you meet the old ones? Is it time to step it up a bit and set new ones?
Cross-training – Dance
Dancing is excellent exercise as well as a fun social activity. You can dance alone where nobody sees you, join a club or find a place where people gather to dance. Your walking has helped build your stamina, now it’s time to boogie!
Motivation is the most important aspect of your workout and, as such, is usually the hardest thing to come by. Every day is different which means that every day will present new obstacles to fitting your workout in. The key is to make exercise a priority so that, no matter what comes up, you won’t let your routine slide to the bottom of the list.
Stay motivated try these tricks:
- Plan on ways to get past obstacles before they happen. If you find you’re skipping exercise because of family responsibilities, plan a family walk or outing to get them involved too.
- Try to workout in the morning. You’ll have more energy throughout the day and you won’t have the excuse of skipping it because you’re tired or have to work late.
- Workout with a friend. When a friend is waiting for you, you’re less likely to back out!
- Make a list of goals and put them on the refrigerator. When you think about skipping your workout, go back and read your list. Remember why you’re doing this!
- Keep track of your progress. When you reach a goal, that will motivate you to keep going!
- Wake up each day and ask yourself how you’ll make your day healthy. Plan your workouts the night before and be prepared with a workout bag ready to go so there are no excuses!
- Reward yourself! It’s important to pat yourself on the back for reaching your goals. Get yourself a massage, a new pair of workout shoes or a night on the town every so often.
Think Before You Skip
When it comes time to your workout, there’s a moment of choice: Will you or won’t you? If you’ve followed the previous tips, there’s no question that you’ll at least try. If you’re having trouble deciding, ask yourself:
- Will skipping this workout help or hurt? – You may need to workout to stay on track or you may genuinely need a day to rest, recover and come back stronger
- How will I feel? – You may not want to workout right at that moment, but how will you feel later? Guilty? Regretful? Think of that before you decided
- Why am I avoiding exercise? – Are you tired? Or maybe your workouts are boring. Figure out what’s standing in your way and how you can overcome it
Recognize Your Excuses
We may talk ourselves out of exercise with excuses that disguise themselves as reasons, but being honest with yourself is crucial if you’re going to start exercising. You may be telling yourself things that aren’t true which can set you up for failure. Some examples:
- “I’m too tired” – If you did manual labor all day, you may be physically tired. If you sat all day, mental fatigue is the culprit and exercise will give you more energy
- “I’m too busy” – Most of us can find a few minutes each day to exercise. Three 10-minute workouts are just as effective as a continuous workout
- “I don’t know what to do” – Confusion is common, but at its heart, exercise is about movement. Take a walk, do a simple strength workout or try a structured program
We tend to be creatures of habit and once we find a program we like, or at least one we can tolerate, we tend to stick to it like velcro. What long-term exercisers know is that doing the same thing for too long can cause burnout, boredom and injury. To avoid that:
- Change Your Workouts – Every 4-6 weeks change some aspect of your workout. Try a new cardio exercise or different strength moves. Take a new class or simply do things in a different order.
- Evolve With Your Lifestyle – Allow your workouts to evolve. Our lives change, our needs change and our interests change over time. There’s nothing wrong with seeking out new ways to exercise
Allow For Failure
You won’t always be perfect at exercise. There will be times you skip a workout, maybe times you stop for weeks on end. There will be times when motivation is nowhere to be found, no matter how hard you try and you may wonder – “What’s wrong with me?” We all fail, but that doesn’t mean we’re failures or that we can’t come back from it:
- Get back on track as soon as you can. Ease into it and give yourself time to build back your strength and endurance, both mentally and physically
- Forgive yourself – Rather than waste time on guilt, treat yourself the way you would a friend in the same situation
- Learn from it – Your failure is only a bad thing if you keep repeating it. Figure out what went wrong and plan ways to avoid it in the future