It’s no secret that regular exercise is a great way to create and maintain a better you. But getting from thinking about it to actually doing it is a trick many of us have trouble mastering. These small tweaks can help get you motivated to make it really happen—and keep it really happening.
PLAN IT OUT AND KEEP IT UP
When life breaks out the busy, exercise is usually first to get nixed. Try planning out a weekly workout schedule; it can hold you accountable and establish exercise as a part of your day-to-day life—like grocery shopping or weekly laundry. Your sleep schedule also counts. Going to bed and waking up at approximately the same time every day (yes, including weekends) helps your brain and body function at their best. A reliable wake-up time may also make it easier for you to pencil in a regular slot for exercise, whether it’s right when you wake up or later in the afternoon. Designating time helps keep you accountable, and crossing it off it your list helps boost your sense of achievement—a win all around for your health, your schedule and your motivation.
START WITH SMALL SLICES
The CDC recommends getting around 150 minutes of physical activity a week for aerobic health and strength. Sound overwhelming? It doesn’t have to be. Simply start small with short workouts. Even just ten minutes of moderate exercise at a time throughout the day can bring benefits. Skip the elevator and take the stairs to your meeting, or gather some coworkers to get outside and walk over lunch. Making tiny changes can help you work your way up to longer workouts. As you progress, aim for two days of muscle-strengthening activity every week, combined with aerobic activity. A good rule of thumb is that the more vigorous the aerobic activity, the fewer hours your body needs. For instance, 150 minutes of brisk walking or yard work a week is roughly equal to 75 minutes of jogging or running.
FUEL AROUND THE CLOCK
Feeling exhausted after a tough day at the office seems like a rational excuse to axe your workout, and sometimes it is. It’s perfectly reasonable to skip a session at the gym for needed sleep, but doing it too often can send you spiraling. Make sure you’ve got a steady supply of fuel by packing on-the-go snacks like protein bars in your bag or desk drawer. Incorporate other healthy snacks into your diet, too—from complete proteins like hard-boiled eggs, to complimentary ones like wheat bread with nut butter or beans and rice. Hydration is also key. When you’re dehydrated, your body won’t function at its best, meaning miserable (or missed) workouts. Remember, you need at least eight cups of H20 every day. Keep a water bottle with you and drink it with your morning coffee, during your afternoon meetings and at your desk. Water too boring? Add a slice of fruit to it or a splash of juice for extra flavor.