Part three of a three-part series on how to achieve your recommended weekly aerobic activity for proper fitness and health.
Successful Mind Game Strategies
Once you’ve found the time and the drive to aerobic exercise, actually getting out and accomplishing it may still seem like an arduous slog through the mud. If so, it might take some psychological boosts and extra assists to get those laces tightened and start to move.
Eliminate barriers and excuses to NOT exercise. Make aerobic exercise as easy for yourself as you can by eliminating as many steps to the activity as possible. For example: lay out your exercise clothes the night before for a convenient change. Or, is it possible to sleep in some or your entire exercise outfit? This way, when you wake, you’re immediately ready for action.
Make exercise fun. Do you plan on walking, running, or doing some yoga? Have your favorite podcast, news program, music selection (or even movie through the magic of the Netflix app), ready to play through your mobile device while you exercise.
What kind of exercise do you enjoy? If you’d rather be punched repeatedly in the arm than take up running, don’t choose running. Running is convenient and efficient but not everyone has to begin a running program to stay fit.
Aerobic exercise should be gratifying, something you look forward to doing. Maybe it’s swimming or power walking, maybe it’s racquetball, maybe it’s tennis, maybe it’s resistance training. Dancing! Climbing stairs! Biking! Whatever exercise you choose, make it a pleasurable diversion—something you’re going to be excited about. As long as it gets your heart pounding, consider it good exercise. Whatever you choose, mix it up during the week to add variety.
Treat your aerobic fitness time like a work commitment. Sometimes we don’t exercise because there’s nothing immediately at stake if we don’t. If you were scheduled to be at work at a certain time to fulfill your responsibility, would you go and do it or would you blow it off?
Visualize what fitness success looks like to you. Picture what your life might be like in 10, 20, or 30 years if you don’t get the exercise you need now. Will you have some very real (and expensive!) health issues to deal with? Will you find it difficult to breathe when using stairs? Will you fracture an ankle coming off the curb one day because your stability and strength are not what they could be?
Now imagine the enjoyment and health security you could have out of life if you do start taking your fitness seriously right now. Visualize what’s to come. Imagine the exercise you want to do and see yourself doing it. If you can dream it, you can build it.
Hold yourself accountable for your aerobic exercise. Make an appointment with yourself. Treat it like you would any other appointment you have with a doctor, a social activity, or a friend. Or, enlist a friend or relative to help hold you accountable.
Get a fitness buddy. Consider finding a friend or relative to exercise with you. Someone you can encourage and motivate and who can also motivate you. Getting out to exercise can be easier if you have someone for mutual encouragement. Or—shameless plug—find a personal trainer to inspire you and help hold you to your commitments.
Tell your friends and family. Post it on Facebook or Twitter exactly what you’re going to do. Saying something out loud (or in a social media post) can be a great way to ensure an obligation to yourself. You said you were going to do something, so you’d better do it. Again, it’s all about making it real for yourself and getting it outside your head to the tangible, moldable world. So shout it from the rooftops and hang your exercise flag for all the planet to see!
Your good health is only a single, smart, daily decision away.
The Finish Line
You know what you need to do and now how to crush it, the rest is up to you. Here are a few final thoughts to help get you to the finish line:
Make your good health a priority. Put it on the list next to your financial security and family safety. If not for yourself, then for those who care about you. Make good health decisions out of consideration for those important people in your life who might have your health to care about later if you don’t care for yourself now.
Don’t underestimate the power of feeling accomplished. Remember that sensation you get after a workout, the satisfaction and gratification you experience, after doing something good for your body and mind can be quite a pleasing reward worth striving for.
Celebrate your victories—no matter how small! Even if you go for a 15 minute walk—something extra included in your week—congratulate yourself. That’s progress. It’s not easy making an effort from idle to mobile and you deserve a bit of revelry. (Just don’t celebrate by eating a thick frosted cinnamon roll and washing it down with a chocolate marshmallow milkshake.)
Getting the recommended weekly exercise time is essential. When you exercise regularly, you will experience better health, a longer life, prevent injuries, and sidestep the most common diseases. With a little effort, planning, and motivational assists, you’ll not only get those 150 minutes, you’ll crush it.
MATTHEW KONKEL is a NASM-certified personal trainer who likes to crush his weekly fitness essential with running and resistance training. He’d like to help you do the same!
Contact him at Invivo Wellness to schedule a fitness assessment or book personal training.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of INVIVO Wellness.