Monday, July 4, 2011

Colette's Exercise Tips

1. Figure out what activities you like.
If you don't know, try lots of things. Personally, I've tried step aerobics, low impact aerobics, water aerobics, archery, boxing, strength training, cycling, cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, Irish dancing, belly dancing, ballroom dancing, yoga, zumba, gliding ... there are probably more. Sometime this summer, I'm going to try spinning (*cough*).

2. Figure out why you like them.
I like boxing and strength training because they make me feel strong. Everything else I do is to support those activities, because that's what motivates me. Maybe your thing is yoga because you like feeling flexible. Maybe you like biking, because you like the wind in your face. Figure out why you like what you like and you'll know what motivates you.

3. Figure out when (and how) you like to do them.

Are you a person who is fine with exercise first thing in the morning before you're fully awake? Do you like doing 10 minutes here and there? Are you the kind of person who needs to exercise on the way home from work? Do you need a class because, like me, it's too easy to make excuses to stop or work less hard if you're on your own? Do you like the freedom of being able to start and stop on your own schedule?

4. Put it together and come up with a plan.
Maybe you're going to swim at lunch 3 days a week. Maybe you are going to get up 1/2 an hour early and spend 20 minutes on the elliptical. Decide what you're going to do and commit to it - maybe to someone else, but mostly to yourself.

5. Follow your plan.
If your plan is to swim 3 days a week, pack your swimming stuff the night before so that you're ready. Change your alarm clock so that you get up 1/2 an hour earlier. You've committed to exercise, and it's as important as any of the other day to day things you have to do, so treat it accordingly.

6. Stuff happens.
Yes, exercise is as important as the other day to day things, but sometimes it's not the most important thing. People get sick. Cars break down. Sometimes there are urgent things that derail the plan. That's OK - start again the next day.

7. The Yoga Corollary
If stuff always happens at the same time, you need to rethink the plan. Either you didn't pick the right time, or you didn't pick the right activity. Personally, I dropped yoga after I noticed that days I had yoga were always the days I had to work late. Work wasn't the problem - the problem was that I was doing yoga because I thought I should, not because I liked it.

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