It’s hard to believe that the year is nearly halfway over. Soon school will be out, vacation mode will be in full swing and the gyms will be … empty.
If you feel your workout motivation waning, you’re not alone. After all, it’s hard to compete with summer’s highly sought-after bonfires and beach days. (S’mores, anyone?) But if you’re looking to get back to your New Year’s resolutions, working out doesn’t have to feel like a chore. There are a variety of ways to spice up your fitness regimen with benefits to boot.
So whatcha say? Ready to get your heart pumping? That post-workout glow doesn’t hurt either.
If it’s been a while since you’ve done any strenuous exercise (aside from regularly climbing five flights of stairs or toting a small child around), the hardest part can be getting your butt back into gear. You’re too busy, a gym membership’s too expensive, your running shoes are worn. The list goes on. You’ll never run out of excuses not to work out, so it’s time to leave them behind.
Pair your fitness routine with incentives that will keep you motivated. Consider purchasing some affordable workout gear, whip up a new smoothie recipe to sip on after you’ve worked up a sweat, make a playlist with your favorite upbeat jams or tune into an audiobook or podcast while you go for a run.
Honor … yourself
How often do we break the promises we make to ourselves? We say we won’t eat out anymore, but then that tempting new takeout menu arrives on our doorstep. We vow to turn our phones off at a certain hour, but then keep them on just in case that message we’ve been waiting for all day finally arrives. We swear we’re going to finish the novel we started three months ago, but then plop down on the couch for just one more episode of that addicting hit drama.
The point isn’t to be hard on ourselves when we slip up — we fully deserve to show ourselves a little love. But it’s important that we take the agreements we make with ourselves seriously because it means that we take ourselves seriously, too.
Hold yourself accountable. Tell your friends that you’re hoping to get back on the fitness train and see if they want to join you. Leave yourself cheerful reminders that you’re investing in your health and well-being and give yourself credit for how much that rocks.
Create an inspiration board of athletes you admire, wellness experts you trust or fitness gurus you adore. Develop a reward system for yourself with different perks for reaching various milestones. The options are endless! At the end of the day, remember that in order to be accountable to others, we first have to be accountable to ourselves.
Feel the groove
If working out sounds about as appealing as getting a root canal, I’ve got news for you: It doesn’t have to. Your fitness routine should fit your unique lifestyle. If you dread hitting the gym, think about going for a hike or rock climbing instead. While you’re on vacation, consider exploring your surroundings by bike. If you live near a lake, see if they offer paddle boarding or kayaking. As the weather gets warmer, check out your local park for yoga classes — many have free weekend or early bird classes. (And don’t miss Patterson Park’s $5 5K Run/Walk Series!)
Not all exercises are created equal. Each type — aerobic, strength training, stretching and balance — has different benefits and knowing about them can help you determine which will best enable you to meet your health goals. While incorporating different exercises from each type is most beneficial, your regimen should be tailored to your personal needs and capabilities. Once you get into a good groove, don’t be afraid to push past your comfort zone. You may find you like a certain type more than you think.
It’s not unusual to fall away from a goal when we forget our deeper motivation for pursuing it. Perhaps you want to live abroad because you value learning about foreign cultures. You might want to become a doctor because someone close to you struggles with a rare illness. Or maybe you just want to order pizza tonight because you made it through a tough day and believe little victories are worth celebrating. When you don’t feel like working out and there are a million other things you’d rather be doing, remember your why.
What will push you out the door to go for a Saturday morning run when it would be easier to stay in bed? What will make you stop at the gym after work when your head is still spinning from that afternoon meeting? What will encourage you to go to a yoga class you signed up for weeks ago but are considering skipping since your friend asked you to brunch? You decide your why. How will you define it? Shape it, shift it, see what fits. Maybe it’s been the same since day one or maybe it’s changed over time. Whatever it is, use it to guide you back to the self who created it and remember why it matters.
That’s a wrap! Which of these tips resonates most strongly with you? Whether you’re a fitness fanatic or still coming around to the idea of exercise as enjoyable, remember to go easy on yourself. Your body knows best. Don’t be shy about honoring it for all the incredible things it allows you to do.