The need to exercise regularly comes in different ways to different people. Many make New Year's Resolutions, conscious that they’ve let their regime slide in the past year. Others decide they need to lose weight or gain in athletic ability for some upcoming event. Some people are fortunate enough to have never had a problem with finding fitness motivation. But even seasoned fitness freaks can neglect their health if motivation deserts them.
So once the exercise bug has sunk its mandibles into you, how do you make sure that it stays there? Firstly, your exercise goals should be S.M.A.R.T. –
Specific goals are meaningful and more rewarding. Think about the what, why, who, where and which of every goal you set;
Not every piece of advice comes with a handy mnemonic. Here are some general pieces of advice:
With exercise it’s always important to start slow, whether that means warming up before a daily session or starting a new regime relaxed with the view to making it more strenuous later on. Nothing kills your enthusiasm for exercise quite like injuring yourself in your first week. Making preparations for exercise is vital – keep your exercise equipment and clothes clean and accessible so you don’t find an excuse not to use it.
Friends, co-workers and family can be recruited to help you towards your goal. They can exercise alongside you, or simply give you support. By feeling that others want you to achieve your goals, you are far more likely to achieve them.
Making a competition out of shared goals can be another great motivator.
There are many motivation-aiding apps and programmes for smartphones and computers. These apps can suggest goals and plot your achievements with impressive precision. Google’s ‘My Tracks’ application is a good example (on Android phones only), allowing you to monitor your speed, distance travelled and many other statistics on a precise map.
Calorie counting app ‘Lose It!’ is a free app for iPhone that that comprehensively combines calorie calculation with monitoring your exercise. By all means, seek out and experiment with alternatives: apps are a fast moving market.
Despite these apps, a written journal or log of your exercise regime is as valid as always, and it can be great to keep a more personal account of your progress.
Always remember that a good exercise regime should be a reward in itself, but don’t forget to reward yourself with something else you want too.
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