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Exercise Tips: Move Your Body - Boost Your Productivity
Do you find yourself setting a New Year's Resolution (every year) to get fit/go to the gym/lose weight/drink more water? If you could answer yes to any of those. I totally understand. I did that too for many years. But I also discovered two weeks into January I had blown my resolution and then would feel guilty for "not achieving my goals". What I discovered was it was more about making movement part of my everyday routine (notice I used the word movement not exercise)! Making little changes in your life can help you make exercise part of your life, rather than something you "have to do"!
Make an appointment. Begin by starting with three thirty-minute exercise sessions per week. Book your exercise times in your diary well in advance. One of the main reasons many people don't exercise is because they think they don't have time - so book it in and make time. Choose whatever time of day suits you and your daily schedule; for some people it will be the early morning (and it's a wonderful feeling knowing that you've exercised before breakfast and don't have to think about it for the rest of the day!), for others it will be during the day, at lunchtime or after work. No matter what time suits you, make the appointment with yourself.
Recruit a buddy. Find someone you can be accountable to - they don't necessarily need to exercise with you (but it can be more fun with someone else) as long as you are accountable to reporting your exercise activities to him or her. You might even have a variety of exercise buddies - one for walking, one for the gym, one for tennis - whatever works for you. I have a great gym buddy, Simone; we have a laugh, work hard and keep each other inspired.
Distract yourself! Combine your daily exercise with other activities, for example, set up your home gym near your TV and watch the news while you work out, listen to music to keep you moving fast or a motivational CD or audio book to make great use of your time and keep you interested.
Join a gym. If you enjoy group exercise, or simply like having access to great equipment and organised activities, join a gym. Make sure you choose a reputable company, that the facilities are close to your home or work (if it is not convenient you won't use it), that the classes you'd like to do are on at times that suit you and that there is plenty of staff to assist with your questions and techniques. If you've never joined a gym before, don't be intimidated - most gyms these days offer many forms of exercise (apart from weight lifting high-impact 80s-style aerobics!), including Yoga, Tai Chi, cycle and even walking and in-line skating groups - there really is something to suit everyone.
Keep it fresh. One of the main reasons people stop exercising is boredom, so vary your exercise rather than just doing to same thing day-in, day-out. On weekends, grab a ball and head to the park, buy a basket ball and play one-on-one with your partner or flat mate, drive to the nearest beach, park or lake and go for a long walk, try skating, do a new gym class that you've never tried before, buy a Yoga DVD, join a soccer club, start a dance class, get some kids (or adults!) together and play tag or other childhood games -the options are endless, just keep moving and having fun!
Get a personal trainer. If you are having trouble getting motivated on your own (or even with a gym buddy), or if you'd just like someone to help you to establish an exercise program and routine, consider investing in a personal trainer. These specialists are no longer just for the rich and super fit. A personal trainer can help you to kick-start your fitness plan and be a great source of encouragement and accountability. When choosing a personal trainer make sure they are appropriately qualified, that you like him or her and that you trust them to help you achieve your goals.
If they are more interested in talking on their mobile phone or staring at themselves in the mirror while they are training you - find someone new. Many gyms have personal trainers on staff, and there are also independent trainers who operate out of either their own fitness studios or public gyms. You can also find trainers who won't take you anywhere near a gym if you're not interested in that type of activity - there are plenty of other ways to get fit!
On a budget? You don't need a lot of money to exercise - just invest in a good pair of walking shoes and you're ready to go. Walking is one of the best forms of exercise and it's available to everyone regardless of how old you are, what size you are and how much money you have.
Set goals. Keep a list of things you want to achieve through your exercise, it might include physical challenges such as running up the stairs without getting puffed, walking 4km in less than an hour or completing a full gym class without stopping, as well health and self-esteem goals such as losing weight, improving your cardio vascular fitness, fitting into your summer clothes with confidence and so on. Write your goals down and read them daily to remind yourself of the wonderful achievements you are striving for.
Keep track. Encourage yourself by keeping an exercise journal. Record your training sessions and any new milestones you achieve, for example, when you begin you might have poor flexibility and after doing Yoga classes and stretching you find you can reach your toes! Keep track, it's fantastic to have a record of all your hard work and to see how far you've progressed.
Reward yourself. Preferably not with chocolate! Buy yourself a new pair of walking shoes or gym outfit, have a massage or a soak in the tub with candles, music, sweet-smelling oils - the works! Find ways that are meaningful to you to reward yourself for all of your hard work and dedication.
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