How to Stick with an Exercise Program

This year, things will be different.

As they step out their door armed with running shoes or a gym pass, there’s only one thing standing between them and the legion of people who let their gym memberships lapse by May, and that’s a plan.

I’m the same way, I know I need to exercise. Hell, once I’m out there, I even enjoy myself. Exercising is great, it makes me look good, makes me feel good, and it’s really rewarding to achieve things like running new long distances.

There’s only one problem: I’m lazy. Like, really lazy. Yes, running (my exercise of choice) is great, but you know what else is great? Sitting on the couch with a cozy knitted blanket and a couple of episodes of X Files.

So how do I manage to stick with my exercise program? Well, it took some trial and error, but I’ve found what motivates me to get my butt on that road.

Set a Goal

Anyone who reads my blog knows I’m big on goal setting. One of my goals for 2013 is to run 500km. Last year I ran 437km so 500km should be doable, but it’ll take a sustained running effort over the whole year. Running 500km isn’t something I’m going to be able to pull off with just a few months left in the year. If you are a beginner just make sure you know your limits. Here is a good general tips guide that I found on how to stay healthy and fit for those of you who are looking to improve your overall health.

Declare Your Intentions Publicly

Whether it’s to your family, group of friends, the blogosphere, or on your favourite social network, declaring your goal in a public forum suddenly makes you accountable. It could be anything, from a general intention to exercise or lose weight, to a specific goal weight, running race distance, or total hours at the gym. Specific goals work better, as they give you something to aim for, but any declaration should be helpful.

Pick an Event

I’ve found that the only thing that really motivates me to run, is to enter a race. If I don’t have a race on the horizon, running just doesn’t seem worth it. Entering a race is final, and failing to prepare by not running enough and not following a training program means that I won’t be able to achieve my goal time. Not achieving my goal time is as good as failing, and that’s not something I’m prepared to do.

Find Your Community

Having other people who are like minded and enthusiastic about exercise is key to maintaining enthusiasm. I have a few running buddies that I run with regularly, and having someone to go out with makes all the difference. In fact, even having my dog Molly as an always willing companion makes a huge difference in my willingness to trudge out in the cold winter for a run.

Join a Program

Instead of simply joining the gym, is it possible to join an organized program? There are tons of couch to 5k programs available that involve group runs with other beginners. Similarly, many gyms offer specific classes or beginner fitness programs that might motivate you to show up at the allotted times, not just whenever you can find time to get to the gym. And when looking into fitness programs and exercise regimes, look into glucosamine in gel form and other useful supplements to help your training.

If exercising was easy, obesity wouldn’t be the epidemic it is. The fact is, exercise is hard and a pain in the ass. It takes little tricks and tactics to get motivated enough to stay fit, but the result is more than worth the effort. If using even one of these tips helps you start and maintain a healthy and meaningful exercise program, then you’re already miles ahead of most people.

How do you manage to exercise regularly?


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