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How do you make yourself exercise?

How do you make yourself exercise?

It’s all very well telling someone they should do more exercise. Deep down we all know we should probably be doing more – but how do you actually transform that nagging conscience into much needed activity?

For some it’s all about body image – look at somewhere like Beverly Hills, and you’ll see the competition is fierce to look toned, buffed, preened and polished. Out there it’s not so hard to get out and exercise because you’re surrounded by gorgeous model-esque looking people. The pressure is really on to keep up with the Jones’s in somewhere filled with size zeros, but if you’re living in central London and you don’t have an acting career to pursue, you’re not going to feel obliged to go in-line skating along the Thames every morning.

For some the drive is medical. Perhaps it’s a high blood pressure issue or there’s a high rate of cancer in the family, and exercise is a preventative measure. Perhaps the doctor has told you that you need to lose weight for medical reasons and your mortality rate is higher because of your size.

For some exercise is a way of release from the daily grind, and a way of clearing the mind from the clutter of life. It can lift the mood and give a feeling of well-being.

It might be that a woman is trying for a baby and is preparing her body to give herself the best chance of falling pregnant, or it might be something less obvious.

Perhaps it’s a bit of a mid-life crisis; the realisation that if you don’t get fit once and for all now, you probably never will.

The fact is everyone has different reasons for getting fit, and it’s important to find that drive and harness it. Some people have to start their new regime on a Monday, or on January 1st, but by putting specific rules on your exercise regime you are more likely to fail.

The best way to get people exercising and to keep it up, is to make it a fun activity. So often nowadays it’s seen as a necessary chore. We are constantly being told that we must exercise to live longer, to save the NHS money, to get thin, to feel better. But perhaps part of the problem is that it’s becoming like a school rule – one that needs to be broken. The psychology for some people is that exercise has to be their idea, and it has to be done for a laugh – not for a life or death reason.

With that in mind, here are some of the best ways to make exercise fun.

  1. Think like a child – As adults we tend to chose serious exercises like running, swimming, and weight lifting. But as a child, no doubt you’d have been skipping, trampolining and dancing. All of these seem like great fun, and the best bit is all you’d need to do these activities is a skipping rope, a mini trampoline and a bit of music. All this can be found at your local gym, and some even have the full sized trampolines! Classes which incorporate dance, such as zumba are a good choice for someone who’s looking for a bit of a laugh.
  2. Take a friend – It can seem a bit daunting and lonely when you’re on your own at the gym, pounding away on a treadmill with your headphones on. Exercising can be a hugely sociable activity if you pick the right things to do. Take a friend and try something completely different – a boxercise class or some budokon (yes, it does exist!) It can be so much fun trying something you’ve never done before and you’ll make friends in a class environment.
  3. Treat yourself. Most of us are guilty of putting too much pressure on ourselves to achieve a specific goal – only to then not reach it. This can be one of the main reasons we give up on sports and exercise. If you give yourself small goals – such as “I will visit the gym every Tuesday”, regardless of which exercise you do. Treat yourself with a DVD if you manage it each week – that way you’ve got something fun to do afterwards.
  4. Exercise on your own terms. Don’t wait for someone to tell you to do it. Make a plan of what you want to achieve. Then, when you don’t do it – you’re letting yourself down. Often that’s enough motivation for most.
  5. Involve others. If you have a family, include them in a healthy lifestyle. Go the park together, walk the dog and play silly games of tag and chasing after each other. It won’t feel like conventional exercise, but you’ll enjoy it and bond as a family. And if you’ve done enough exercise, you could enjoy a delicious sit-down dinner afterwards.
  6. Don’t be too hard on yourself. We all fall off the exercise wagon occasionally and you mustn’t get down about it. Just make sure you get straight back on the horse – and ask for help. Trainers at the gym, friends and family, can all support you in your mission.