Sponsored by YMCA Okanagan | Impress Branded Content
There are endless obstacles that can get in the way of working out. Excuses vary from lack of time and work responsibilities, to no motivation, and not knowing where to even begin.
Ready for some good news? There are strategies that will help you stick with it for the long term and achieve your health and fitness goals. If you want to learn to make exercise a regular part of your life, you need to train your brain first. Then your body will follow!
Here are 8 ways to stick with exercise:
1-Set short-term goals
Most people start an exercise program with the only focus being to lose weight. That’s a long-term outcome goal that is tough to control. Instead, try to make specific short-term goals and give yourself a timeframe. For example, start off with walking on the treadmill for 20 minutes on your lunch break, and then after two weeks, add to the goal by including a short jog every five minutes.
2- Focus on the positive
After working out, you should feel more relaxed, refreshed and upbeat. If you over-exercise, you’re bound to feel worn-out and low in energy. You may begin to associate these negative feelings with exercise, which your brain will remember.
3- Talk yourself into exercise
“I have a lot on my plate. I deserve to go home and have a glass of wine. I can exercise twice as hard tomorrow to make up for it.”
All the life obligations will continue to take over as you keep talking yourself out of exercising. Talk yourself into exercising by remembering the positive feelings associated with it, how important it is to take care of yourself.
4- Set up a schedule and reminders
Place your gym bag so it’s blocking your front door and you literally trip on it if you don’t grab it on your way out the door. Also, schedule the workout in your calendar and set a reminder on your phone. If you commit to a regular schedule just like you would for a meeting, you will more easily get into the routine and habit of exercising.
5- Distract yourself while exercising
Associate exercise with something you enjoy doing like listening to tunes or a podcast, watching a TV show or reading a book.
6- Celebrate milestones
Celebrate each small success with something that makes you happy, such as fresh flowers in the house, a bubble bath or buying something nice for yourself.
7-Prepare for relapses
Recognize that they are inevitable, normal and that it is only a TEMPORARY lapse — not a failure. If you think ahead and say, “I know I won’t be able to make it to my class on Monday because my daughter has a soccer game so I will walk around the field as she plays,” you’re less likely to fall off the fitness wagon.
8- Seek support from family and friends
In order for you to change your lifestyle to incorporate exercise on a regular basis, everyone who is part of your life needs to get on board. If your friends and family are expecting you to still do everything the way you’ve always done it, they could derail you from your goals.
These methods of training your brain to help you stick with exercise are part of the evidence-based approach used by YMCA personal coaches. As part of YMCA’s mission to build healthy communities, they provide one-on-one appointments with certified personal coaches for free with membership.
The YMCA of Okanagan will open its third Kelowna location inside Interior Health’s new Community Health and Services Centre on Doyle Avenue in late Spring. Services will include group fitness classes, personal training, health coaching and child minding. For more information, visit www.ymcaokanagan.ca.