Last month we talked about introducing a new exercise habit. Now, we focus in depth on consistency and being prepared for moments of low motivation, distraction, excuses and all those cases where the mind tries to quit the habit. Consistency and moderation are key elements for your long-term fitness success. The hype of fitness can come and go quickly; however, making yours a healthy lifestyle will keep you strong and healthy.
Once you manage to do regular exercise over a period of 3 months, you will be so healthy and strong, both physically and mentally, that the benefits you get will make you keep going with ease. Exercise will be a part of your lifestyle and key to your wellbeing.
Let’s have a look at common excuses:
1. Bad weather
2. Feeling weak
3. Lack of motivation
5. No time
And here are some strategies to stick to your routine:
1. There is no bad weather, only bad equipment. In other words, be prepared with functional clothing suitable to the climate you live in: rain protection, skin protection, gloves and a hat. Especially in winter time, when we have long periods of bad weather, a regular outdoors walking routine can put you in a good mood and recharge your batteries. Having a walking partner for support and commitment is even better!
2. Feeling weak is a tricky situation. If you are about to get a cold, you must not exercise, nor work, but cure yourself. And once you get better, you may start very slowly and carefully to take up your exercise routine again. You need to get a feeling for what is really healthy for yourself. When the body is sick, it is a sign to slow down and cure it. If the “weak feel” is more of a mental weakness or lack of motivation, please read no. 3!
3. Lack of motivation is the most common cause of how people stop doing what is good for them. Be prepared and be smart enough to have the strength to continue taking good care of your wellbeing! Here is a simple technique to get over your moments of poor motivation and sabotaging thoughts: Visualize how great you feel after 5 minutes of exercise. Imagine how the oxygen streams through your system, energizing every single cell. Imagine your heart beating, pumping healthy blood throughout the body and making you feel very alive. Imagine your vivid look and shining face after exercise. To make this tip work for you, practice imagining before you need to use the technique. In other words, train using the visualization right now, and do it several times, so that when you have a weak moment, you can use it.
4. Boredom is cured with variety. Change routes, do interval training, switch from powerwalking to jogging to walking meditation, change the intention of your exercise, or have a different focus each time such as your breath, imagery, smell, sound, or posture. Do the “elevator exercise,” a simple pelvic muscle exercise that gives you a flat belly and strong core. Do muscle training outdoors (see Well Core Network’s December Newsletter regarding exercise without machines) instead of indoor aerobics. Be creative!
5. If you tend to always have no time, plan ahead. Get up 15 minutes early. Observe how you spend your time during the day. Become aware of using your time and take notice of time killers; how much time you spend watching TV, small talking, surfing the web, or whatever you do. Become responsible and conscious about your time usage.
Celebrate your success! When you accomplish your week’s exercise goals, give yourself a gift on day 7. This can be as simple as meeting with a friend, going to the movies or having a special event such as visiting an exhibition or theater.
Next month: Good posture and core strength during Walking Meditation – learn the “magical elevator exercise.”
Further information such as Personal Coaching by Phone or Skype and inspiration for healthy habits can be found on my personal blog at http://theWalkingGuru.org.
The intention with this column is to motivate and inspire everyone to treat their body with loving care.