Have your walking sneakers been gathering dust in the closet? Are you hitting the “snooze” button on your alarm clock seven days a week? Has the word “workout” disappeared from your vocabulary?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you may be in an exercise rut — and you’re certainly not alone! Cold weather, rain, snow and ice, holiday blues, and plain, simple boredom can all contribute to why exercise often plummets to the bottom people’s to-do lists. If you find yourself unable to muster the enthusiasm and energy to get moving, check out our tips for how to get back on track with your workouts.
Psyche yourself up. Think back to when you were motivated to do interval walking or strength training every day or at least a few days a week. As those exercise-induced endorphins kicked in, you felt energized and positive, probably even “euphoric,” at times. Exercise was actually fun. Remembering these “up” moments should help you get back on track.
Set new goals for yourself. Start out easy: Interval walk or do core-strengthening exercises for 10 minutes a day, then 15, then 20 minutes, indoors or out, making sure to include the slower recovery periods between fast-paced intervals. No need to work out longer, since interval exercise burns more fat and calories in less time than steady-state exercise. If you get bored with this routine, add in some new types of exercise. For example, consider taking a water aerobics, yoga or Pilates class once a week in addition to your other exercise.
Get some new gear. Trading in that old tee shirt and faded sweatpants and slipping into new workout wear in your favorite colors can be an incentive to exercise more since you'll look better and probably feel better about yourself too. Be sure to choose moisture-wicking fabrics to keep sweat contained. You may want to pick up new walking shoes, athletic socks, and a new gym bag as well. Keep the fully stocked gym bag right by the door, so you can’t miss it!
Exercise with others. Consider asking a family member or a friend to exercise with you. Whenever you commit to exercising with someone else, you’re more likely to show up and do a workout — and you’ll have more fun doing it, too. If walking is what you like best, find a friend who walks at about the same pace as you do and set up a regular date.
Reward yourself. Of course you deserve a pat on the back for making an effort to work out more often, but make sure the reward is a non-food treat. Journal how much you exercise this week and if, at the end of the week, you've made progress, treat yourself to a mani-pedi, a massage, or a trip to the movies with a friend.