Invest in a Fitness Tracker
Whether tracking steps, height climbed, or number of active minutes, fitness trackers can be a great motivational tool. Although the exact accuracy of most trackers is yet to be proven, they can still help motivate you to be more active. Most people will find themselves making small, but meaningful changes. Taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking further away from the entrance, and going for an after dinner walk are all examples of positive behavior changes that a tracker may help you adopt.
Worried about the cost? Prices typically range from $40 to upwards of $200, depending on desired functionality. Many smart phones now have the ability to track steps as well. Check out these fitness apps.
Try Something New
If you don’t enjoy running, don’t force yourself to do it. There are many other things you can do for cardiovascular exercise, i.e. elliptical, biking, roller skating, skiing, basketball, Zumba, and the list goes on. The same thing goes for strength training. If you have never felt comfortable lifting free weights, try something different like high intensity interval training, body weight training, or kettle-bells.
Finding an exercise that doesn’t feel like “exercise” may be the key. Hiking can be a great way to get outside and see new sights, without realizing you are actually burning a lot of calories. Dance classes are also another way to have fun while staying active.
When it comes to exercise, something is better than nothing. Having an “all or nothing” attitude will likely keep you in the “doing nothing” category. Instead of training for a half marathon, start by doing a couch to 5k program. Or, simply start incorporating a couple of 10 minute walks into your day. As your body adjusts, start increasing the length or intensity of your walks. Soon, you will be amazed at your progress and excited to set new goals. The key is to take the first step.
One of the best ways to train your mind to look forward to, rather than dread, exercise is to reward yourself. Sorry, but we are not talking about food rewards. Instead of enjoying a piece or pizza or ice cream in celebration of an exercise milestone, try to think of ways to reward yourself intrinsically. For example, think of how good you felt after accomplishing your goals. Focus on the rush of endorphins you felt right after finishing your walk/run. If you need a little help getting started, it’s ok to buy yourself a non-food, exercise-related reward, such as a pair of running shoes or a new fitness outfit. Eventually, though, you will want to focus on the mental rewards. This type of thinking will help you retrain your brain into not hating exercise.