How to stop skip­ping your work­outs

Lesotho Times - - Health -

THE first few weeks of a new fit­ness rou­tine, you couldn’t be more stoked. You prac­ti­cally pop out of bed to hit the gym -- rain or shine, snow or sleet! And then life hap­pens. A col­league calls an early-morn­ing meet­ing. A nasty cold strikes. You start to feel de­flated, and your willpower fades. Sound fa­mil­iar? It’s a “vi­cious cy­cle of fail­ure,” ac­cord­ing to Michelle Se­gar, di­rec­tor of the Sport, Health, and Ac­tiv­ity Re­search and Pol­icy Cen­tre at the Univer­sity of Michigan. For 20 years, she’s been study­ing mo­ti­va­tion to fig­ure out why so many of us strug­gle to keep it — es­pe­cially when it comes to healthy habits. Her new book, “No Sweat,” re­veals how to make one of those key habits, ex­er­cise, a part of your life — for good. (Hint: It in­volves ban­ish­ing “should” thoughts!) Here, Se­gar, who also coaches clients, shares five sim­ple tips that make per­fect sense:

Count ev­ery­thing — and add it up

Phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity doesn’t have to be time-con­sum­ing or in­tense to count as ex­er­cise. “Many of the things you’re al­ready do­ing qual­ify as healthy move­ment,” says Se­gar. So give your­self credit for cross­ing the park­ing lot (2 min­utes), walk­ing the dog (10 min­utes), play­ing tag with your kids (15 min­utes), gar­den­ing (20 min­utes), even push­ing a cart around the gro­cery store (25 min­utes). “Vir­tu­ally all of my clients have told me that the no­tion that ‘ev­ery­thing counts’ has been trans­for­ma­tive for them,” Se­gar adds. “It makes them feel suc­cess­ful ev­ery time they move, which leads to higher energy lev­els all day long.”

Fo­cus on the now Once you start count­ing all the phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity in your day, you re­al­ize it’s pos­si­ble to squeeze in a lit­tle more (with­out chang­ing into work­out clothes). “Rather than think­ing, I don’t have time, you start think­ing, I can fit this in!” Se­gar ex­plains. When­ever you have a small pocket of time — even if its just five min­utes — ask your­self, What can I do right now? You might end up jog­ging the stairs 10 times, or knock­ing out a se­ries of ab moves on the floor.

Do what feels good “Our brains are hard­wired to re­spond to im­me­di­ate grat­i­fi­ca­tion, and to do what makes us feel good,” says Se­gar. This is one of the rea­sons we tend to give up on chore-like work­outs. Se­gar’s ad­vice: Choose a type of move­ment that feels good to you, and you will want to choose it again and again — whether it’s as sim­ple ashik­ing or as trendy as Buti yoga (think power yoga fused with tribal dance and ply­o­met­rics!). Re­search backs up this ad­vice: A Por­tuguese study from 2011 found that en­joy­ing ex­er­cise was among the strong­est pre­dic­tors of whether a per­son con­tin­ued ex­er­cis­ing and main­tained weight loss for the next three years.

TAKE own­er­ship of your fit­ness There are a lot of voices pro­claim­ing that you “should” ex­er­cise — from your friends and fam­ily to your doc­tor and the media. But the most im­por­tant voice is your own, says Se­gar: “Re­search sug­gests that a be­hav­iour change is more likely to en­sue when you’ve iden­ti­fied what you re­ally want from it.” You may be seek­ing bet­ter moods or stress re­lief, or maybe you just want to catch up with your work­out buddy — it doesn’t mat­ter, as long as you know what you’re af­ter. (Not sure? Se­gar’s book can help you iden­tify goals that will re­ally work for you.)

Make one change at a time Many of us feel so ex­cited about “get­ting healthy” that we try to do mul­ti­ple things at once, Se­gar says. “We de­cide to si­mul­ta­ne­ously work out more, learn to med­i­tate, and start a new diet — and that’s a recipe for burnout.” Try fo­cus­ing on just ex­er­cise first, Se­gar says. And above all else, re­mem­ber to keep it fun, be­cause that is the true se­cret to last­ing mo­ti­va­tion. As Se­gar puts it, “Do the phys­i­cal move­ment you want to do, when you want to do it, for the amount of time your life al­lows.” That’s the best way to keep from laps­ing al­to­gether. — CNN

SKIP say­ing ‘should’ when it comes to work­ing out and TAKE OWN­ER­SHIP OF YOUR FIT­NESS.

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