Making time to exercise can be a real struggle for many, as balancing work, family and friends is enough to keep anyone busy these days. Though it may leave you feeling tired when you get home, working out can actually give you more energy to take care of all your responsibilities and still make time to have fun. If you have a hard time finding the motivation to exercise regularly, check out some of these ideas to inspire you to get active:
Morning motivational tricks
For many, getting out of bed in the morning is already a challenge, but waking up to exercise can make the struggle to snooze your alarm that much greater. Getting all of your workout gear ready the night before can help you fight the urge to fall back asleep when your alarm starts ringing. This way you won’t have to fumble around for your running shoes or fill up your water bottle. If you go to the gym, put everything in a bag and leave it by the front door, so all you have to do is get dressed and go. For those who exercise at home or jog around the neighborhood, put your workout clothes in reach of the bed, so you can immediately pull them on as you’re waking up. By the time you’re standing up, all you’ll have to do is tug on your sneakers and get going. Fitness magazine stated that being able to see your workout gear will make it harder to ignore the need to work out.
Beat the stationary blues
Aerobic exercises that get your heart rate up are a cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle, but using stationary machines can get boring quickly. For some, watching TV or having a book or magazine to read can serve as the perfect distraction to help the time go by faster, but this may not be enough for everyone. Instead of driving to the gym and hopping on a treadmill, why not take your workout to the streets? The New York Times reported that the body moves differently when running outside. For instance, when outside, runners will flex their ankles more than they would on a treadmill, providing greater benefits to the exercise. You will also have the advantage of varied terrain, as you can run both up- and downhill, and run on harder and softer surfaces. The latter, such as grass and sand, offer less resistance, forcing your muscles to work harder. It doesn’t hurt that you’ll have more visual stimuli outside, whether you’re running through a park or along city streets.
Turn working out into a game
Working out for the sake of getting exercise should be motivational in and of itself, as adopting a regular exercise routine will help improve your physical and mental well-being and help you shed any extra pounds. However, the internal struggle to actually get to the gym or go for a run can be an ongoing challenge. Rather than debating the benefits of working out versus sleeping in day after day, you may find that turning exercising into a game can help give you all the motivation you need. You can create your own rules and point-earning system, and set short- and long-term goals for yourself. For instance, 30 minutes of cardio could earn you 5 points. For every 50 points you earn, you can reward yourself with a small treat such as a new e-book to read while you’re on the elliptical. When you rack up, say, 500 points, make the reward a little bigger, such as a new gadget you’ve wanted for a while. It can help to stash a few dollars in a jar every time you work out. This way, you’ll have the funds for your grand prize when the time comes.