By now I think we all know we’re supposed to exercise, and quite a few of us have figured what exercise works best for us. However, that doesn’t mean that we all love it.
Starting, and sticking to, an exercise plan can be more difficult than expected. This is especially true if you dread your workout before you’ve even started.
There may be a good reason you aren’t enjoying your workout, and a simple fix to make exercise enjoyable. If you find yourself groaning every time you lace up your shoes or strap on your bike helmet, it may be time to take a look at why you don’t like to exercise and do something about it.
It’s hard to get started
For some, just getting a new exercise program started is the biggest hurdle. Not knowing what to do and making the transition from sedentary to more active can be a daunting task. If you find yourself in this situation, call on a friend to be your workout buddy. Getting started will be a lot easier when you don’t feel like you’re on your own.
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You know the drill: Wake up, work all day, come home exhausted and yet your to-do list seems to have grown longer. The last thing you want to make time for is a workout. You’ve worked hard and feel exhausted—why go running?!
When I hear this from my clients, or when I think these thoughts myself, I pose two questions:
1) Will I feel better or worse after I finish my workout?
2) Will I regret going to work out?
Chances are, your answers are BETTER and NO, respectively. But I get it! It’s hard to justify turning off Netflix and leaving your comfy couch to spend even a few minutes boosting your heart rate. But find your reason to remember that it is worth it. We don’t exercise simply to look smokin’ in our summer bikini; hopefully, you also exercise to feel strong, to have more energy, to sleep better and stress less, and to bring out the best version of yourself. If you don’t have 60+ minutes to devote to burning calories, that’s okay!
Anything is Better Than Nothing.
A recent article from Shape.com explained how your brain responds to running. There’s a lot of science in the piece, but the take-away is that running definitely boosts your mood and the more in-shape you are, the better you feel. How’s that for incentive to get out and move more?
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More and more, when I talk to people about the one food they could never give up the answer is cheese. I don’t know if this is generation, geographical, or what, but the hard-to-break habit keeps coming up in conversation. People like their cheese, and I’m no different. I like a gooey triple cream brie on apple slices, a chunk of cheddar on crackers, and a thick dusting of parmesan on most pasta dishes. But mostly I like cheese with wine.
In the past I tabulated a Work it Off: Wine edition. Since we know exactly what it takes to burn off a couple of glasses (and 250 calories) I’m going to turn my attention to cheese. The cheese plate, to be exact, such as the two I helped take down this past week while sipping wine in the sun with various groups of friends. (This isn’t typical for me: The weather turned warm right as my birthday week hit, which led to a little extra indulgence!)
The cheese on a typical cheese plate adds up to around 481 calories, which no doubt explains why it tastes so good and goes down so easily.
How, exactly, could I have burned off these 481 extra calories?
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After 15 years of being overweight, Cheryl Hanna says it took just one light bulb moment to realize she needed to get healthy for herself and her family. By having a positive attitude, getting her children involved, and reciting the mantra, “trust the process,” she is now 125 pounds thinner and proud to show off the “guns” she’s worked so hard for.
I knew I was overweight, but felt like I was being selfish if I took time for myself to go workout.
We hear it time and time again. Women take such good care of everyone else in their lives, that they often forget about themselves. Cheryl was no exception. Though she was athletic and fit in high school and college, her activity decreased significantly in nursing school. By the time she got married, found a great job and started having babies, her focus had completely shifted to being all things to all people, except Cheryl. At 283 pounds, she knew she was overweight, saying, “I sucked at controlling me.”
Cheryl’s light bulb moment
My kids were in a running club at school – they participated in local 3Ks and 5Ks. After a 5K in March of 2012 my kids crossed the finish line and asked me when I would start running with them instead of watching,” Cheryl said. “My light bulb! I wasn’t being part of their lives, I was only watching from the sidelines. I didn’t want my kids memories to be of me watching them, I wanted them to remember that I played with them, ran with them, challenged them, that I was PART of their lives!”
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A new trend is officially gaining steam: Healthy Birthday Celebrations! When it come time to blow out the candles, it seems like boozing and binging are out and exercise and eating well are in.
To be fair, this could be a sign of being a certain number of years out of college, but I don’t think getting older is the only thing at work here. It’s probably about getting wiser too. I have definitely noticed an increase in the healthier birthday party: For my roommate’s birthday a year or two ago, we all woke up at six in the morning to go on a group run. We spent the rest of the day antique shopping, walking around town (even more exercise), and ended the night with a glass of champagne each.
That’s right. Birthdays do not have to be about totally throwing your healthy lifestyles out the window. Here are some fabulous (and yes, still really fun!) ideas for a more adult birthday party. Enjoy!
Fitness Class Fun
Yoga, Zumba, Indoor Cycling, Pilates, ballet, kickboxing?! There are so many different exercise classes that are an extremely good time—why not bring your friends? Your birthday wish can (and should!) absolutely revolve around getting your best pals to join the fitness class you love. A lot of gyms and fitness centers have group rates or bring-a-friend prices, so definitely take advantage of them. What better way to start a new year in your life than with a little healthy sweat alongside your best friends?
Group Run Get-Together
Similarly, a nice group run is a wonderful way to set yourself up for success. Start your special day off right with a gorgeous run outdoors. Yes, gyms are great, and treadmills are good for your joints, but Vitamin D is important and it’s a lot more fun to run en masse in a park or along a trail. You can even theme the run. How fun would it be to run with birthday hats on or along a trail of landmarks from your childhood? Make it a little more interesting and your friends will definitely be in.
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