We've all been there . . .
Sitting on the sofa having an argument with ourselves about whether to get up and do the exercise activity that we planned, or whether the reasons we come up with for leaving it till tomorrow are actually quite valid.
It's really hard for the 'do it now' option to win once we start this argument.
It's not so much that we're lazy, but our brains are wired to simplify decision making for us.
In doing so, the brain puts much more emphasis on getting a known, definite benefit now, than some intangible, possible benefit in the future.
Build Your Motivation
In order for the do it now option to win these little arguments, we need to make the benefits of doing exercise more real, definite and immediate in our minds.
What’s in it for you?
Weight loss – Exercise can help you in two ways:
Aerobic – will help you burn more calories and the more calories you burn the more you can eat and still lose weight.
Strength – will help you build and maintain muscle. This is really important for weight loss as the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn on a daily basis, even while you sleep!
Better sleep – Research has shown that exercise can help improve sleeping patterns as well as reduce stress. Those who exercise regularly are significantly more likely to report sleeping well on most nights than people who are not physically active.
Improved immunity – Regular exercise can help boost immunity by improving lymphatic and cardiovascular circulation and also helps flush bacteria out of your lungs and airways. This may reduce your chance of catching a cold or other illnesses that circulate around the office!
Enhance mood – Studies have shown that exercise can work as a mood enhancer. If you wake up feeling a little sluggish, you can improve your energy levels by doing a short yoga session. Yoga can energize your body, calm your mind and reduce tensions.
30% lower risk of dementia – Exercising regularly can make your heart and blood circulatory system more efficient and keep your blood pressure low – reducing your chances of dementia.
50% lower risk of type 2 diabetes – All the benefits of exercise can help prevent diabetes, however if you are insulin resistant, exercise can help your body increase its sensitivity to insulin.
Maintain health, strength and flexibility – Resistance exercise can help build muscle and avoid falls as you get older. Building flexibility helps to improve the mobility of joints.
Improve confidence and self esteem – Exercising and being healthier overall can really help improve your body image. Studies have shown how men and women’s feelings about their weight and appearance play a major role in how satisfied they are with life overall.
It’s not as hard as it looks:
Start slow and increase intensity – Slowly increase your level of exercise even if it means walking more and driving less. Exercise should challenge your body and as your body adapts to increased exercise, it will get easier over time and you can up the intensity of your workout!
Set yourself a realistic goal and write it down in your diary – It can be a little difficult to set a weight loss goal and every goal will differ from person to person, as will the time it takes. Once you’ve chosen your goal, you’ll be able to work out how long it will take you to reach your goal weight through this weight loss calculator.
Make exercise a habit – People often find exercise easier once they have formed a habit, of course a habit is not going to form overnight so you need to be persistent and be ready to put the effort in!
Find an exercise you love – Find an exercise you enjoy as it is a personal choice! Choose something that appeals to you and that you find fun, you’re less likely to feel motivated to exercise if you don’t like what you’re doing!
Keep a pair of tight fitting jeans around – Buying new clothes, or keeping older ones around that you want to get back into is a great way to motivate yourself and to keep looking forward.
Work out with a buddy – Research has shown that people who have the support of a buddy when losing weight are more successful at losing weight themselves. Having a buddy to support you through your weight loss journey is a great way to help spur you on and improve your long term success!
Put exercise sessions in your diary – Keeping a food diary has been found to double weight loss success and ‘self monitoring’ is key. Writing down your food intake makes you accountable for yourself and can help as a motivation tool. The same can be said for exercising; recoding your exercise and seeing how many calories you’ve burned works just the same way!
Listen to music – Research has shown that components of music such as lyrics or tempo can highly affect a person’s performance by changing their mind-set or distracting them from discomfort. Find a good playlist to listen to when you're exercising and see if it helps improve your performance!
Challenge friends to a work out – Make exercise more enjoyable by working out with a friend and challenging them to competition! Why not see which of you can hold the plank the longest, or who can jog a circuit faster? This way exercise is more fun, sociable and you can motivate each other as you go.
Turn chores into exercise
Housework really is a great way to burn calories without even realizing it! You bend and stretch when making a bed, washing windows or doing laundry – all of these are great for toning and strength! More energetic chores such as decorating and gardening burn even more calories... Take a look and see what you could burn!
Cardio and the benefits
Reduced risk of heart disease – Exercise can reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by up to 35%, one of the many reasons it is essential to keep physically active.
Relief from depression and anxiety – Feeling either depressed or anxious can often lead to lack of energy and making it feel more difficult to exercise, however regular exercise can boost your mood and is especially useful for people with mild to moderate depression. When you're feeling down it can feel more difficult to exercise, but it will do you the world of good!
More energy – There are lots of ways to boost your energy and exercise is one of them! If you’re feeling tired or sluggish, any form or exercise can help boost levels of feel-good endorphins to make you feel more upbeat and positive!
Improves circulation - Good circulation is a necessity for general health as your blood constantly transports oxygen and nutrients to your brain, skin and vital organs. Exercise is one of the best ways to improve your blood circulation by simply raising your heart beat.
Strength and the benefits
Maintain weight loss – Strength training helps you to maintain your current weight while building up your muscle mass, as many people often lose muscle as well as body fat when they lose weight - this is why it's so important to keep up with strength training during weight loss.
Improves body shape – Although you cannot lose weight in one specific area, such as your tummy for example, you can tone and build up muscle. Strength training will enhance your muscles and often change your body shape.
Helps to burn more calories – One of the best benefits of strength training is that every additional pound of muscle you gain, your body burns around 50 extra calories every day of the week! The more muscle you have the more calories you'll burn, even when you're sleeping!
Develop better body mechanics – Body mechanics are a crucial part of strength training to help avoid injury, they are also vital in keeping your spine healthy and free of aches and pains.
Cardio & Strength
5 things to remember
Warm up and cool down before and after exercise – Always make sure to warm up before, and cool down after exercise as you’re far more likely to injure yourself if your muscles haven’t been warmed up.
Always have a rest day – When planning what days you’re going to exercise it is vital you schedule in regular rest days, without them your progress may be affected. Rest days allow your muscles, nerves and bones time to rebuild and relax.
Keep hydrated before, during and after exercise – The average adult should consume 2.5 liters of water a day but this will need to be increased when you’re exercising. Dehydration can make it harder to exercise and can become dangerous if you drink too little.
Make sure you get enough sleep – Make sure you get a good solid 7-8 hours of sleep as tiredness often makes us all more irritable and less likely to exercise!
Try to stay consistent – Set aside time in your calendar, you’re more likely to keep to them if you see them as ‘appointments’!
The secret of getting the motivation to exercise lies in giving your brain enough ammunition to win your internal argument!
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