Climb Out of an Exercise Rut!

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! Snow and ice, post-holiday blues, and plain, simple boredom all contribute to why exercise often plummets to the bottom people’s to-do lists when winter sets in. 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 actually get up with the sun to do interval walking or strength training. As those exercise-induced endorphins kicked in, you felt energized and positive, 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 a day, 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. If you get bored with this routine, add in some new types of exercise. For example, consider taking a yoga or Pilates class once a week in addition to your other exercise.

Get some new gear. If you trade in that old tee shirt and faded sweatpants and slip into new workout wear in your favorite colors, you’ll immediately feel more committed to exercise. 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, too. Keep the fully stocked gym bag right by the door, so you don’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 to do, find a friend who walks at about the same pace as you do.

Reward yourself. Of course you deserve a pat on the back for getting up every day, or even every other day, to work out, but make sure the reward is a non-food treat. Journal how much you exercise this week and at the end of the week, treat yourself to a mani-pedi, a massage, or a trip to the movies with a friend.

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