Here’s the thing about exercise: we all know it’s healthy but sticking to a regular workout routine can still be a struggle. Regardless of whether you’re working out to lose weight, get in shape or just improve your health, finding what motivates you can take you from occasional exerciser to regular gym visitor.
If nothing else gets you moving, think “bribes.” Want to buy yourself a new perfume or get a nice massage? Tell yourself you can’t do it till you’ve completed a certain number of workouts. Want to stop by the coffee shop for your favorite cup of joe? Only after the gym.
By rewarding yourself — and never breaking your own set of rules for that reward system – you’ll establish a routine that will help you stick to regular exercise.
If you have trouble getting to the gym because “there’s never any time for it,” the answer is simple: add your workouts to your calendar. Stop waiting for free time. Instead, make workouts part of your routine.
Even better, make sure you schedule your workouts for consistent days and times to achieve better results. According to a study conducted by the Department of Kinesiology at the University of North Texas, people who exercise at a particular time of day regularly are more likely to stick to an exercise program and experience better results from their workouts.
That’s right –make it painful to avoid the gym. Set a price and the rules in advance. Miss a single visit to the gym and you have to pay a friend $10 or cancel the manicure you had scheduled for the weekend.
Even better, you can download and use an app called Pact, which automatically takes money from your bank or Paypal account every time you miss a scheduled workout. And don’t worry, cheating is harder than you might think. According to their website, Pact uses “GPS, photos and other services to keep you honest.” Where does the money go? To pay other users who did meet their goals.
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Workout buddies can take many forms. It could be a coworker or a friend who joins you for workouts regularly. Or it can be an online partner you rely on for support. You don’t even have to share goals to make it work. For example, you might be trying to lose weight while your buddy is training for a 5k.
The buddy system works because it keeps you accountable – and even makes you feel guilty enough to head to the gym even when you don’t really feel like it. After all, you’ve already promised your buddy you’ll meet her or him there for a workout, and you don’t want to disappoint him.
If you have a cause that’s dear to your heart – anything from breast cancer support to animal shelters fundraising – you might want to check if they have any scheduled events coming up. Many charities organize their own 5k walks or runs, where participants pay to participate and complete a certain activity.
If you can’t find anything local that’s dear to your heart, you can try an app called Charity Miles, which allows you to earn money for your favorite charity every time you’re active. Running counts, of course, but so does walking to work, taking your dog out and even shoveling snow.
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