Spring is here, and in addition to cleaning your home to clear out the clutter and breathe some new life into your digs, you may find your workout routine could use some spring cleaning as well.
Winter exercise ruts can be supercharged by sunny, cheerful weather; giving additional motivation to those who may have lost their drive during the colder season. But there are other ways to hop onboard the exercise inspiration train to freshen up a stale workout program, and we’re going to talk about a few of them below.
6 tips for exercise motivation that will help anyone get back into the workout groove:
1. Take It Outside—
Use the sunshine to your advantage, and take a walk outside now that you’re not confined to the treadmill by lousy weather. Walking outdoors will give you vitamin D and fresh air that will invigorate you and add to the good endorphins the exercise is already providing.
Wear a watch or pedometer to replace the usual time or distance goal-monitoring of the treadmill, find a nice neighborhood to navigate, or a nature trail to hike. There’s nothing like a little nature and a brisk walk to get you moving again.
2. Switch It Up—
If you normally cycle for cardio, consider trying walking or running, or vice-versa. Hop on that elliptical machine or give the stair-stepper a shot. Open your mind to the different versions of exercise offered in your gym and try something new to give energy and interest to a boring workout program.
Also: Don’t limit your branching out into new territory to old territory – you can try different types of exercise outside of the gym as well. Pop in a new DVD at home with yoga, dance, or any other workout you’re curious about, or join an outdoor group sport.
The Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology found that exercisers trying a new activity were 63% more active than those who were too scared to try new things… so put on your bravery pants and get out there.
3. Visualize Positive Changes—
The mind is a powerful tool for making physical changes, and negative or hurtful self-talk won’t help anyone achieve anything but a lowered self-esteem, which is not conducive to accomplishing goals.
This makes it important to focus on repeating a positive mantra to yourself when you’re feeling unmotivated or hopeless, with an emphasis on kindness and support. (Example: “You are strong and you can DO this!”) A study published in Basic and Applied Social Psychology found that participants exposed to positive examples of physical fitness improved their motivation, eating and exercise habits, so surround yourself with helpful role models and supportive people.
5. Hold Yourself Publically Accountable—
This is a daunting task for many, because it can be scary to “put it out there” that you’re trying to get in better shape. But if you can manage to do this, it can be one of the most powerful motivational tricks of all.
Some people find that posting daily runs or workouts on social media such as Facebook or Twitter can not only serve as a way to encourage themselves to stick with a program; they find it really helps them stay organized, serving as a convenient exercise journal.
If you like to write and want to take the accountability factor one step further, consider starting a free blog about your progress. There, you can detail everything you do to work towards your goal, and document your victories to keep your motivational fire burning.
And who knows? You might even inspire someone else to get in better shape when they read about your accomplishments.
6. Be Gentle with Yourself—
Don’t forget to listen to your body along with the “no excuses” types of mantras and slogans. Those sayings can be great to give you the kick in the glutes you need get moving, but once you’re moving, be careful not to overdo it.
If your body aches post-workout in the good way muscles that have been pushed a bit will, this is fine. But if you experience sharp pain during or after a workout that requires ice packs and anti-inflammatories, you probably pushed a little too hard.
When they say “no pain, no gain” they aren’t referring to injuries, so use proper form and get enough sleep every night to stay on track, strong and avoid setbacks.
Remember that scheduling workouts into your weekly schedule as if they are doctor appointments to be kept, and visualizing your future results are also highly recommended ways to motivate yourself. Use the tips above to rejuvenate an out-of-date winter workout routine, and spring into a new season of improved fitness!