Eleven Tips for Exercising Regularly

Whether you are a lifelong athlete, or a weekend workout warrior, making a commitment to yourself to increase your physical activity is important on many levels.  Most importantly, it's good for your heart (physically) and your soul (emotionally).  On the heels of this year's Workout Ramp up (aka. Mayham 30 for 30) here are eleven tips to keep you motivated as we jump feet first into the summer months.

Let's take a look at eleven ways to get active and stay active, appropriate for all ages and fitness levels.  Let's move!

1. Always exercise on Monday. It starts the week off right.

2. If possible, exercise first thing in the morning. As the day wears on, you’ll find more excuses to skip exercising.

3. Never skip exercising two days in a row. You can skip a day, but the next day, you must exercise. No matter what.

4. Give yourself credit for the smallest effort. There are many days when I don't want to commit to a workout.  But just lacing up the shoes is half the battle.  If I'm still not feeling it after 20 minutes, which is rare, I'll head home knowing that I made the effort.

5. Think about context. I enjoy running, but do not when it's cold outside.  If I started a running program for the first time during the winter months, I would have quit long ago. I enjoy certain methods of yoga more than others.  Had I initially found a class I didn't like, I  might not have gone back.  Find what you like, in what setting and enjoy.

6. Exercise several times a week. Find what you like and do it.  Walk at a brisk pace, go for a bike ride, lift weights, or take a cardio class and partake in some form of activity a few times every week.

7. If you don’t have time to both exercise and take a shower, find a way to exercise that doesn’t require you to shower afterward.  If you need to get a squeeze in an exercise session during your lunch hour or fit in a 30-minute Pilates class.

8. Look for affordable ways to make exercising more pleasant or satisfying.  If you're having trouble with motivation, grab a girlfriend and make a plan to workout together.  I never missed a spin class when I knew a friend was waiting for me at 6am. If you can afford it, hire a personal trainer or a gym with added amenities, like a lavender infused steam room or hot tub for a post workout soak.

9. Think of exercise as part of your essential preparation for times you want to be in especially fine form—whether in performance (for an important presentation), appearance (to look good for an event) or mood (to knockout stress). Studies show that exercise does help.

10. Don’t let perfection be the enemy of excellence. If time got away from you, and there's only 20 minutes to exercise, then use it.  Don’t decide it’s only worth exercising if you can run three miles or an hour-long bike ride. Do what you can.  Even a ten-minute walk is beneficial.

11. Don’t kid yourself. Belonging to a gym doesn’t mean you go to the gym. Having been in shape in high school or college doesn’t mean you’re in shape now. Take your current level of fitness into consideration when beginning a workout regiment. We all have our fitness story, are different people and have a variety of body types, but we're only as good as yesterday's workout.

*adapted from The Happiness Project