Tips to Ensure You Exercise Every Day

People find many reasons to procrastinate exercising. They range from bad weather, to being busy, to having a cold, to much more creative ones! The tr... Stephanie Larkin People find many reasons to procrastinate exercising. They range from bad weather, to being busy, to having a cold, to much more creative ones!

The trick is to retrain one's mind to understand and accept that exercising is extremely beneficial. Think of it as a battle, with the obstacles to be conquered not just once, but regularly. Instead of being daunted, consider it a test to become stronger physically, mentally, and emotionally. There is nothing sweeter than success, especially when it comes from self-improvement!

First, it is extremely important to exercise in a manner that appeals to you. No one wants to something on a daily basis which they dislike. You must enjoy the exercises you do, even if it's different than what friends or co-workers do. Ask yourself what you did in the past that brought joy, even if it wasn't traditional exercise. Could it have been playing tennis in college? Did you spend hours with a punching bag as a kid? Were you the best skater in the neighborhood? You get the idea. It may be easier to choose something to do on your own, since you can follow your own schedule, but you may prefer the moral support and camaraderie of others. It all depends on whether you need socialization in order to make exercise fun. Even if you exercise "formally" just twice a week, if you love it, you'll want to practice and stay in shape on your days off.

Second, once you have found your desired way to exercise, objectively look at your schedule. It is easy to commit to exercise, but hard to follow through, so be conservative. If you work normal business hours, the only available time may be in the evening; it is important to understand that feelings of fatigue are often remedied by an invigorating work out. Many individuals actually have increased stamina and strength in late afternoon and early evening, and studies prove that even late-night exercise ending 30 minutes before sleep does not interfere with it. (However, don't work out immediately after a big meal because the body is spending energy on digestion.) Many indoor workouts can be done while watching television or movies, and outdoor ones can be accompanied by favorite music. This added entertainment will make time fly and add a different dimension to your program. It now becomes your time to escape from daily life and focus on your own interests, if only for 30 minutes. Failing that, you can catch up on news broadcasts, or ponder situations that require your assistance, increasing the value of this time.

Third, have what you need handy. That means keeping necessary clothes, shoes and equipment together in one place. It's much easier to follow a regime if your Tae-Bo DVD is already in the machine, if your exercise bike is set up and ready to go, or your gym bag is in your car, outfitted with towels and toiletries. Running late is often a deterrent to exercise, but with everything at your fingertips, there's more chance of follow-through.

Fourth, find a way to monitor your improvement-and there will be improvement. Sometimes the best encouragement to continue with any physical fitness program is to see your body and abilities get better. Now, there may not be constant progress (even pro's have off days) but after a few weeks, you should see small changes for the better. When the scale numbers come down, or you can fit into those old jeans, or your muscles look tauter, or you can continue longer, you're heading in the right direction. Knowing that you are improving your physical health and your personal abilities (not to mention appearance) will give you impetus not to miss your daily workout. Don't worry if situations arise where you just can't squeeze it in, though. People's lives are busy and family and work obligations many times take priority. The next day, simply work out a little more, and increase physical activities. Walk to meet the kids at the bus stop instead of driving, or take the stairs instead of the elevator, for example. Although it is important to get at least a half hour of physical conditioning each day, you should not allow situations beyond your control to cause stress. But do remember that it's important to bet back into routine as quickly as possible, since the longer you postpone it, the harder it may be to get back to the level you once were.

When you find the type of exercise that elevates your spirit and produces noticeable results, you will look forward to that part of your daily routine, and soon you won't be able to imagine life without it!

Stephanie Larkin is a freelance writer who writes about health and fitness topics, similar to what consumers read in [Shape Magazine]