Thursday, April 3, 2008

Exercise Crack

Inspired by Mac's post today at Get Fit Slowly.

Everybody knows that they should exercise, but it seems that only a small percentage of the world population acts on this knowledge. If you're one of those who knows you need to start but just can't seem to drag yourself into the gym, try a few of these ideas to motivate yourself:

1 - Write down every reason you can think of that you should exercise. Fitness reasons, health reasons, body image reasons, social reasons, family reasons, mental health reasons, etc. You'll be surprised how long the list gets. Then write down every reason you can think of that you shouldn't exercise. When you compare these two lists, you'll see that the "should" list will be much longer. And the "shouldn't" list will consist mainly of variations on "I don't want to."

3 - Find an exercise buddy. It can be a neighbor, coworker, friend or dog, but if you have somebody who you know is depending on you to show up, lots of excuses go away.

4 - Tell people you're starting an exercise program. That way you'll be motivated because you know they'll ask you how the program is going.

5 - Read health studies. Seriously. If you keep on reading about how good exercise is for you and how eating crap and sitting on your butt will kill you, you'll want to act on that information. Charlotte at The Great Fitness Experiment will hook you up with more studies than you can shake a stick at.

6 - Give yourself a "carrot." Do you love lattes? Make it a rule that you can only get one after your workout. Had your eye on a new pair of shoes, video game, etc.? Tell yourself you can buy it if you work out 3 times a week for a month.

Once you've started exercising, tracking your progress will help keep you motivated to exercise for the long haul. Mark every day that you exercise with a big X on the calendar and keep a written record of how far you walk/jog or how much weight you lift. Seeing your progress over time can be a powerful motivator to keep on exercising!

DON'T TRACK YOUR BODY WEIGHT. Weight fluctuates from day to day and hour to hour based on a whole schmorgasboard of variables, and is a very inaccurate way of measuring fitness and health. If you must track a physical attribute, track body fat percentage. Even better, take a picture of yourself in your favorite outfit every week or so to see how much better you start looking after a few weeks/months of regular exercise.

Everybody should exercise. That includes you. So go do it.


Charlotte said...

Excellent advice Lucas!! I should totally listen to you about not tracking weight. You are so right.

And hey, thanks for the shout out!! I'm all about shaking sticks at research;)

PS> You, um, missed #2. Shhh... I won't tell anyone.

MizFit said...

and make it fun.





ANYTHING in the name of jacking up that metabolism.


Lady G said...

Good pointers! And I would add one - perseverance. Even if you have lapses and have to restart your exercise routine several times, if you keep it up you will develop a habit!
It took me a couple of years but now exercise is just something I do 6 days out of 7, no drama.

Lucas said...

charlotte - thanks! And forgetting how to count on the internet -- how embarassing!

mizfit & ladyg -- excellent points! If you're not having fun, you'll never be able to stick with it. And even if you are having fun, there will be those days where you just have to suck it up and go anyway.