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Dec 24, 2010

Exercise motivation tips

Not everyone is born and blessed with the motivation to workout. If you're one of those people who would rather be doing anything but running on the track, or be anywhere but lifting weights in the gym, check out these tips for a little added motivation, a change in your exercise mentality, or just a new idea to jump-start your workout.
* Mix it up
If you get tired of the same old thing day in and day out, give yourself some change. No one said you had to walk the same route each morning, or bike day in and day out. Keep things varied and don't get stuck in a routine. You'll find you'll look forward to different scenery and changes in activity. By working different muscle groups, your body will be happier too.

* Make exercise a social thing
Grab some friends with the same exercise interests. Having people to work out with is a sure bet for motivation. You'll keep each other going and will be less likely to quit early. It's nice to have others to talk with and cheer on.
* Bring the kids, bring your pet
If walking or jogging's your thing, bring along the dog or strap your kid into a jogging stroller. If they count on you for their daily dosage of fresh air, you'll have an added reason to get out there.
* Be realistic
Set goals you know you can follow through with. Choose activities you know you can do and do well. If you find yourself constantly frustrated with your workout, chances are it's time to rework your strategy and find a better fit.
* Find workouts that aren't "workouts"
Being active still counts, even if it's not a proper workout. Walk to the store. Choose stairs over elevators. Walk during your lunch hour. Designate an "active" day where you don't have to go to the gym, but make a conscious effort to exert some energy. You will feel good for being active, and will have given yourself a break from your normal regime.
* Write it down
Keeping a log to show improvement will help you see how well you're doing and can help you set new goals. If you feel like you've been doing the same thing for ages, set a new challenge and track your progress. Having some workout "homework" could help you become more diligent.
* Reward! Reward! Reward!
If you find exercise is torture, give yourself something for getting through it. Whether you exercise for 4 days in a row, or jog an extra mile--if you're happy with your performance, give yourself a prize! This could be a day off from the gym, a new pair of jeans...make yourself happy because you deserve it!
* Sports count too
If you hate the thought of going out to "exercise," find something you do like. Start a volleyball league at work. Learn to play tennis. You'll have fun and, guess what? You'll be exercising!
* Look good!
If you feel good in your workout clothes, chances are you'll want to show 'em off! Buy yourself some outfits that make you feel good--things you WANT to put on. No one said you had to workout in grimy t-shirts.
* Distract yourself
Pull up a stationary bike in front of the TV. Listen to your favorite tunes on your headphones. Enjoy books on tape. Having other things to concentrate on can make a big difference in helping time go by.
* If at first you don't succeed.....
There's no limit to the number of chances you get to start exercising again. If you give up or skip week after week, try again--once you finish that daily workout, you'll be glad you did.

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