Exercise is one of the keys to happiness. Research has shown that people who exercise often are healthier, happier, more energetic, perform better at work/studies, think more clearly, sleep better, decrease their risk of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and dementia. They get relief from anxiety, stress and mild depression.
Now, even though it is tempting to just flop down and be the couch potato you want especially when feeling tired and exhausted, exercise is actually a great way to boost energy levels. Feeling tired is in fact a reason to exercise more, not to skip physical activity.
Everyone admits that they feel better if they exercise; however, it can be very hard to adopt this habit. This is why these tricks could help you stick to your own personalized exercise plan!
- Always exercise on Monday - This sets your psychological pattern for the whole week!
- If at all possible, exercise first thing in the morning - As the day wears on, you will find more exuses to skip your exercises. Get it checked off your list first thing! You will feel energized for the whole day!
- Never skip exercising 2 days in a row - It is fine to skip a day, but you definitely must exercise the next day no matter how inconvenient it could be. This way you'll keep your psyche in the "exercise" mood.
- Give yourself credit for the smallest effort - Go ahead put on your running shoes. The first step to commit is the hardest, the step you need to do the most. Many time, by promising myself I could quit 10 minutes after I had started, I got myself to start - and then yes, I found that I didn't want to quit after all.
- Think about context - I thought I disliked weight training, turns out I hate guys who hung out in the weight training area! Could you be distressed from running in the morning just because it is cold outside? There are many factors that could make you reluctant and discourage you from exercising: examine them thoroughly, there's a solution for it all.
- Exercise several times a week - The best way to stay in tune with your exercising rituals is to exercise more than twice a week, meaning most days of the week! Twice a month is surely not enough.
- If you don't have time to both exercise and take a shower, find a way to it - Either find a way to exercise without sweating, kind of impossible OR cut your exercise time in half while increasing intensity and days of exercising!
- Look for affordable ways to make exercising more pleasant or satisfying - Think of upgrading yourself to a nicer gym, buying a new iPod, working with a trainer, getting a pedometer, trying a new sports you always wanted to adapt, etc. Keep in mind that exercise is a habit you want to keep for life. Make it a part of your lifestyle by making it something you enjoy.
- Think of exercise as part of your essential preparation for times you want to be in especially fine form - whether in performance (to be sharp for an important presentation) or appearance (looking gooood), or mood (to deal with stressful situations). Studies have shown that exercise does help and make you ready.
- Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good - Please don't decide it's only worth exercising if you can run 5 miles or if you can bike for a whole hour! Know that going for a 10 minutes walk is worth it. You can start by doing 15 minutes of cardio before you shower everyday >> giving a total of 105 minutes per week, great start, no? So do what you can!
- Don't kid yourself - Paying your gym fees does not mean you go the gym. Or having been in shape in high school or college doesn't mean you are in shape now. And last but not least, saying you don't have time to exercise does not make it true!
Originally published on The Happiness Project!