Saturday, January 12, 2008


You know you should exercise, but some days it's tough to get moving: not enough time, too tired, no energy. Counteract those excuses by discovering what motivates you, and use these strategies to develop and maintain an active lifestyle.

Step One
Determine an attainable goal such as exercising twice on weekdays, once on weekends. Creating realistic goals will set you up for success. If your goal becomes too easy, you can always design a new one.

Step Two
Create rewards for achieving your goal. The reward can be a massage, a new workout outfit, a new CD, a session with a personal trainer, or a new piece of sports equipment - whatever you really want.

Step Three
Partner with a friend, co-worker or loved one - someone who will support you and your goals without sabotaging them.

Step Four
Subscribe to a fitness magazine or online fitness newsletter. New tips and exercises can be inspirational and alleviate boredom.

Step Five
Create a competition with co-workers or friends. For example, the team whose members exercise for 30 minutes, three times each week for three months wins a prize. You decide what the prize is.

Step Six
Change into your workout clothes. Sometimes, it's just a matter of getting dressed that causes the biggest barrier.

Step Seven
Erase the concept that if you can't do at least 30 minutes you're wasting your time. Exercise burns calories, increases energy, and improves your health - even in small doses.

Step Eight
Try a new sport or class. Adding variety, group support and competition can increase your likelihood of exercising.

Step Nine
Make a commitment to your dog to go for a long walk at least twice each week.

Step Ten
Look for ways to incorporate activity into your day, even if you can't do your normal exercise routine. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, go bowling instead of to the movies, or use a push mower instead of a power mower.

Step Eleven
Sign up for a race and send in the entry fee. Whatever your activity - running, biking, walking, swimming - there are hundreds of races offered all over the world. Pick a place you've always wanted to visit.

Step Twelve
Join a gym. For some, paying for a membership increases the likelihood of compliance. It also eliminates the bad-weather excuse.

Tips & Warnings
Exercise in the morning. Research shows that people who make exercise a priority first thing in their day are more likely to stick with it.

Every person goes through periods of time when it's incredibly challenging to maintain an exercise program. Acknowledge it when it happens, recognize that it's just a brief period of time, and restart your program as soon as possible.

Choose things that motivate you - not what others want.

Remind yourself of the many health benefits of an exercise program.