How To Make Exercise A Habit

Exercises Buddy

How many times have you started an exercise program? Once? Twice? Six times? And how many times have you fizzled out within a matter of months? Once? Twice? Six times? Yeah, we know – we’ve been there, done that too. But exercise doesn’t really have the desired effect if you don’t stick with it over the long haul. So what’s the secret? Actually there are a number of tips that will help you to make exercise a habit.

Who’s Your Buddy?

For some people, the best way to stick with an exercise routine is to find a buddy to do it with. When I first started working out regularly at our local fitness center, my husband came along with me. We continued this routine for the first couple of years, and by then I couldn’t imagine life without daily exercise. The buddy approach works for a couple of reasons.

First, having company makes the workout more fun, which means it is more likely that you will actually want to head to the gym. Second, when you really don’t feel like you can work up the energy to lift a few weights and spend some time on the treadmill, your buddy can kick your unmentionables into gear. Accountability and fun are two important components in making exercise a habit.

Learn Something New

For other folks, enrolling in a fitness class is the way to go, especially if you have to shell out a registration fee up front. This cost combined with an instructor who will be looking for your smiling face is often sufficient motivation to keep going. You can sign up for a basic weight training class, aerobics or the ever popular spinning classes.

You can also find classes in Tai Bo, Tai Chi, and Tae Kwon Do that will make you sweat sufficiently. Now is the perfect time to learn a fitness discipline that you always thought sounded interesting but were afraid to try.

Make Goals, Indulge in Rewards

Some people like to work towards something, and goals will give you the precise incentive that you need to make exercise a habit. How much do you want to bench press? How many miles do you want to be able to walk? How much weight do you want to lose?

It can be a good idea to set big goals like, “I want to fit back into my little black dress by next New Year’s,” and then couple that with smaller goals like, “I want to lose one inch on my waist size or drop three pounds by the end of the month.” And when you reach a goal? Celebrate with those bling earrings that you have had your eye on, or a professional massage.

The really good news is that if you can stick with your exercise program for six months, your body will begin to see and feel the results of your efforts. And once you begin to look and feel better, you will be that much more motivated to hit the gym for a workout on a regular basis. Keep it up!

Energize Yourself With A Cat Nap!

cat nap

Everyone has hectic days. Early mornings, rush hour traffic, dropping off and picking up the kids after school, cleaning the house – all of these everyday occurrences can take its toll on anyone. In addition to high stress levels, lack of sleep can contribute to many negative side effects to your health and your life. Sometimes it appears as if there aren’t enough hours in the day…or is there?

Getting enough sleep is essential for the body and mind to work properly. When we’re sleep deprived, we tend to feel sluggish and go about our everyday routines like zombies on autopilot. Although doctors stress the importance of getting at least 8 hours of sleep each night that is easier said than done.

However, if you can’t make the time at night to fully rest your body, it is possible to do this during the day. Children nap throughout the day so why can’t adults? For one thing, not having a full-time job or household to run makes it easy to rest during the day. If that’s far from your situation, don’t worry. It’s simply a matter of finding the time.

energy quoteThe average cat nap for an adult is about 30 minutes. Taking a cat nap three times a week has been medically shown to improve your heart, decreasing your risk for heart disease. Cat naps allow your body to rest during the day and is a great stress reliever. When you wake up, you feel refreshed and are able to focus better on the rest of the daily tasks ahead of you.

Working from 9-5 makes it difficult to take any kind of nap (most bosses wouldn’t be fans of employees napping on their desks). After work and before dinner is an ideal time to try and squeeze in a few minutes of shut-eye. Tell your significant other and your children that you need to lie down for a few minutes and find a spot on your favorite recliner or couch.

You can also use the bed, but often that can lead to sleeping longer than the recommended 30 minutes for a cat nap, which defeats the purpose. When you sleep for too long, it can result in feeling more tired. The idea is to get just enough sleep for your body to calm down and reenergize.

Stay at home mothers tend to have the best schedules to fit in cat naps. When you put the little ones down for their nap, use that opportunity to rest as well. Cleaning the house and cooking can be put off for a few minutes. Maintaining your health and catching up on much-needed rest should be top priority.

One way to get a cat nap into your schedule three times a week is to cat nap on weekends and once during the week, say a Wednesday for example. This makes it easier to prioritize your regular duties during the week without interference and your weekends are perfect for allowing you to catch up on enough rest to keep you prepared for the week ahead.