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It should be noted that the key to a successful exercise program is perseverance. This means that you need to commit to it for the long haul—in fact, it is best if you commit to it for the rest of your life. Certainly, it can be difficult at times. But in the end, it is well worth the effort you exert.
Staying motivated may begin with having a tangible goal. For instance, if you are basically inactive when you start your program, you should aim to burn off 500 calories a week. If you are fairly active when you start exercising, your goal should be 1,000 calories. But you must also have a long-term goal. This might be doubling the amount of calories you burn within six months of commencing your exercise program.
You might consider starting an exercise log. Here, you will record exactly what kind of aerobic, anaerobic, and stretching exercises you do each week. Be sure to include the number of repetitions you’re performing with each exercise. This way, you’ll have a concrete chart for your progress. Seeing how well you’re doing can be truly inspiring and can keep you going when you find it difficult to go on.
Another effective motivational strategy is to join a group that engages in some kind of exercise. For instance, you might become a mall-walker or you might find a local square dance club to join. Other possibilities include hiking groups, golfing groups, softball teams, or even ping-pong teams. The fact that you are part of a social network will help to keep you motivated.
You might try psyching yourself out by using a computer screensaver which says, “Get moving.” Or you might post a “get moving” sign on your refrigerator. In other words, you should be constantly reminded of the value of exercise. You might also invest in home exercise equipment such as a treadmill, elliptical trainer, or free weights. The amount of money you spend could be a powerful incentive for making sure that you use the equipment on a regular basis. You should also place the equipment in a prominent place so that you have to pass it often. After a while, you’ll find no excuse not to exercise.
You might also consider investing in exercise videos or DVDs. These allow you the convenience of exercising in the privacy of your own home. They can also give you an electronic “exercise buddy” who can help keep you inspired even on rainy days when you don’t feel like exercising at all.
Another effective idea is to place your athletic shoes near the door so that you are reminded of the need to walk rather than drive. You might also consider rewarding yourself for keeping with your exercise program. Your reward could be as elaborate as a cruise or as small as a treat from the dollar store. The idea is to make sure that your accomplishment is celebrated.
While we’re on the topic of celebration, seriously consider throwing a party once you’ve reached an exercise milestone. You can serve nutritious snacks and beverages and even encourage your guests to come in their athletic wear in order to build upon the party’s theme. Sharing your joy can help to motivate you to continue your physical activities.
It should be said that there is no right way to exercise. But you do need to make sure that whatever you do is effective and that you’re sufficiently motivated to do it. By following just a few simple tips, you can ensure that your exercise routine is not just a fad, that it will continue over the long term. Remember that you may face setbacks from time to time, but that shouldn’t stop you from continuing to try to reach your exercise goals.
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Penha Cristina Mullett
Board Certified Holistic Health Practitioner