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7 Tips to Help you Create the Habit of Exercise

Booty CampIn a few hours I will be attending day three of a three day fitness camp, called Booty Camp. A combination of Zumba(mostly latin style dance) Pilates, Stretch and Tone, Dance and Laughter. It’s run by my good friend Kevin Woods of Upper Circle Academy. My body aches but it feels good. I love the feeling of achievement each night when it’s done, the knowledge that the holiday inertia has been kicked to oblivion. I chose to take part in the program for a number of reasons

  1. It’s a great kick-start to fitness for the New Year
  2. Amidst the pain and the humiliation of not being able to coordinate my arms and legs simultaneous it’s actually fun.
  3. It finishes on night three with 2 for 1 Bootalicious cocktails in our local bar Ollies

Putting all that aside the real reason I decided to take part in Booty Camp was to prevent the feelings I have felt for the last few years at the beginning of January. For the last few years, New Year has brought with it a low, my motivation fades and my enthusiasm for life eludes me. It’s ironic as I love New Year’s Resolutions, new goals, optimism, hope and all that goes with it, but for some reason my body doesn’t feel it until later in January. I think it’s a result of the over indulgence and lack of activity in the holiday period. Every year I tell myself I will get more exercise over the holidays I won’t overeat, I won’t drink as much alcohol but I don’t and I do and I do.

Sigh, but this year I prepared myself for the aftermath of “Las Fiestas”and I boldly signed myself up for three nights of exercise to start the year in a more positive way.

Are you game?

So if you are feeling slightly sedate after the holidays, if your jeans are no longer your best friends and the energy in your house is solely confined to what is coming through the fuse board. I recommend you kick-start 2012 with the healthy habit of exercise.

You may already have an exercise routine, if you do, well done keep up the good work. If you don’t and your joints need some flexing here’s how I recommend you get started

1. Decide on the Exercise that Most Suits your Lifestyle.

Don’t immediately think gym when I say the word exercise, there are many other options. By all means if you are a gym fan go sign up but you could alternatively choose a social sport, one where you make friends and have fun at the same time. I joined my local tennis club, I have made so many new friends and tennis has become so much a part of my life, I now couldn’t imagine my life without tennis. If you are not a sporty person, try dancing, or spinning or swimming. If none of these ideas appeal to you, walk, walk everyday and walk everywhere!

2. Start Small

Starting small is the best way to create a habit that will stick. Do as little as 10 minutes a day of an exercise to create the habit. You will find that before long you will naturally want to increase the amount you do.

3. Chose When and Where

Before you start, think about creating a routine. Get up 10 minutes earlier in the morning and walk around the block, or go for a swim every day at lunch time. Whatever the activity and whatever the time it is advisable to do it at the same time everyday to create a routine. Routines are easier to keep up than depending on your will power every time you think about exercise.

4. Bring a Friend

Sometimes it’s easier to exercise with someone than to do it alone. Most of us would never let a friend down but we let ourselves down regularly when we don’t stick to our commitments. So if you are the type to give yourself a hundred and one reasons not to exercise, get a fitness buddy to help you on your way.

5. Write Down the Benefits

Take a pen and paper and list the benefits of creating this new habit. The energy gained, the endorphins, the health reasons, the slimmer waist and the stronger legs. Write down all the reasons why you should adapt a habit of exercise into your life.

6. Write Down the Potential Barriers

What could stand in your way
? What normally prevents you from sticking with the habit? Is it tiredness, busyness, laziness? Or is it because you have too many commitments in your life, are you responsible for too many people? Do their needs come before yours? Whatever the reason it is important to firstly be aware of it. Only when you are aware of your barriers, can you work towards removing them.

7. Just do it

Once the plan is in place, the what, the when and the how, just do it. Exercise is not something you will ever regret. Why do we believe sitting on the sofa with a beer will make our lives happier than getting regular exercise? The reason is we have conditioned ourselves to believe it to be so. The problem with the beer and the sofa we can often regret the choice but with exercise we never do.

If you start small and build on this habit you will incorporate exercise into your daily life with little effort. Please remember not to do too much too soon, apart from risking injury you risk quitting too soon.

As always I’d love to hear your comments, how did you create a habit of fitness? Do you have any tips or advice to share.

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