How to Make Exercise a Part of Your Life
Everyone has a slightly different attitude towards exercise. This attitude can not only affect how much exercise you do, but also, the type of exercise you do.
In this article, we shall begin by looking at the four main exercise personalities that people can have: the “exercise-aholic“, the “stressed out” person, the “my body is my temple” person, and the “social exerciser“.
By identifying your personality you will then be better able to understand what motivates you to exercise, and some of the advantages and disadvantages you may experience as a result of your personality type.
Later on, we shall then look at some of the ways that you can fit exercise into your schedule and make it something that becomes a permanent part of your life!
The exercise-aholic is a fitness fanatic. This type of person will go to the gym every day of the week, and will never miss a training session unless they absolutely have to.
They enjoy all types of exercise, and are willing to try out new things that could help them to workout more effectively. When they do workout, they push themselves to the limit and take their routine very seriously.
Whilst working out frequently is something that we should all do, exercising too often can lead to burnout and possibly even a serious injury.
In addition, you may also find that you quickly become bored with exercise if you don’t vary what you do. When that happens, you will begin to enjoy your workouts less and less, until eventually, they become seen as a chore.
Making it work for you
Exercise should always be fun, because ultimately, that’s what will keep you going in the long run.
So if you feel as though you’re burning out, try doing something less intense but something which still challenges you. For example, martial arts, adventure sports or yoga.
If you always workout on your own, then consider joining some classes, such as dancing or aerobics, to open up the social side of exercise.
As the body requires time to recover from any period of physical activity, it’s also a good idea to vary the activities you do throughout the week if you are not already doing so.
For example, on one day you could do a strenuous form of exercise such as weight lifting, and then the next day, something less strenuous like yoga or swimming. This will keep you challenged, whilst also helping to maintain your interest in the activities you do.
Finally, as an exercise-aholic, remember to give yourself time to rest and relax! So aim to have one or two days a week where you don’t exercise at all, as this will benefit both your mind and body for the coming week ahead.
The Stressed Out Person
The stressed out personality describes a person who wants to exercise, but for whatever reason, feels as though they don’t have the time to do so.
Their intentions are good, and they may have even joined a gym, but no matter what they do they can never seem to stick to their fitness goals.
If you feel as though you don’t have time to exercise, then you won’t, as you will always be putting it off to some date in the future.
With your personality, even if you do join a gym or buy a fitness video, unless you start exercising there and then, you probably never will. As a result, the only thing you will have accomplished is to waste your money and your time.
Making it work for you
In order to make this personality work for you, you need to make exercise a top priority in your life. Even if you think that you don’t have the time to exercise, you most likely do, as even extremely busy people are able to find a few hours to workout each week.
If you think that exercise is a waste of time, think again. Everyone needs to exercise, because as the old saying goes, a healthy body gives a healthy mind.
Once you get yourself into shape, you will become healthier, look better, feel better and produce better quality work. As an added bonus, you will also live longer!
So start seeing exercise as something which you absolutely must do, because once you get into this mindset, you are likely to put a lot of time and effort into it and so will get a lot out of it in return.
For those who are genuinely very busy, hiring a personal trainer can help you to achieve your fitness goals by keeping you motivated and on track.
If stress is an issue, try joining a yoga or tai chi class, as these will help you to unwind at the end of the day whilst also allowing you to exercise in the process.
My Body is my Temple
This type of personality describes a very spiritual person, someone who likes to take care of their body and is interested in the deeper meaning of life.
They see their body as a temple, and as result, view exercise as an important part of life. They also tend to eat well, usually favoring organic foods and avoiding junk foods.
The main type of exercise preferred by this personality is anything that doesn’t work up too much of a sweat, and can also be done at one’s own pace such as yoga or slow walking.
Whilst gentle exercises such as yoga and walking can provide many health benefits, they aren’t very effective at providing a cardiovascular workout. So if this is the only type of exercise you do, then your fitness levels are going to be quite low as a result.
Without doing any rigorous forms of cardiovascular exercise, such as running or riding a bike, you won’t receive the benefits that such exercises can provide like a reduced risk of heart disease.
In addition, if you never work up a sweat, then you are unlikely to burn much fat. So whilst yoga or pilates may help you to tone up your body, they won’t actually help you to shift any excess weight.
Making it work for you
In order to improve your overall level of fitness, it’s important to do more strenuous exercises which raise your pulse and cause you to sweat.
For example, doing yoga on one day and then running the next day. This will help to improve your stamina and flexibility, whilst also helping you to lose weight.
The Social Exerciser
This type of personality enjoys the social side of exercise. They see the gym as a good place to meet their friends, have a chat, and perhaps, even meet someone special!
Unfortunately, for the social exerciser exercise tends to be quite a low priority. As a result, it’s not uncommon for such people to spend most of their time chatting rather than actually working out.
Although working out certainly should be fun, if you are exercising your mouth more than your body, then you’re not going to be improving your fitness or losing any weight.
A good workout session should include periods when you are working out by yourself, and also periods when you are in groups with other people.
However, it’s important to balance working alone and working with a group, because too much emphasis on one or the other will lead to boredom or poor results.
Making it work for you
Because you enjoy the social side of exercise, try to find activities in which you can work within a team as these will be the activities that you are likely to enjoy the most.
For example, hockey, football, volleyball or basketball. These activities will allow you to have fun with other people, whilst also giving you a good workout at the same time.
If you like to exercise in a gym with your friends, then arrange to meet them after your workout so that you can exercise together and then have fun afterwards.
Setting Fitness Goals
Anyone who exercises on a regular basis will tell you that the hardest thing about getting into shape is starting in the first place.
But once you get into the swing of things, you will find that it quickly becomes a habit and not only do you get yourself in shape, but you also start to enjoy it!
However, as you are probably already well aware, a lot of people who start exercising give up after a few weeks. They set out with good intentions, but for whatever reason, couldn’t seem to continue what they set out to do.
The good news is that if you really want to start exercising regularly, studies have shown that if you can make it past the two month mark then you will be much more likely to keep on exercising for the long-term.
This is because exercise releases endorphins in the body. These are chemicals that make you feel good, and at around two months of continuous exercise, you start to get addicted to them.
So not only will you learn to love exercise, but you will also start to feel as though you can’t do without it!
To get to the stage of being addicted to exercise, you can give yourself a helping hand by setting some fitness goals.
By setting goals, you will make it clear what you want and what you are going to do to achieve it. As a result, this will then make it much more likely for you to keep on exercising to the point where you start to enjoy it.
Below are listed some simple tips on how to set yourself fitness goals:
1) Make a Plan on Paper
Once you have decided what your fitness goals are, write down on paper exactly what you hope to obtain and how you hope to do it. Writing down your objectives like this will keep focused, keep you organized, and keep you in control.
2) Set Realistic Goals
When you first start exercising, take it slow. There is no point in trying to exercise every day of the week if you have never exercised before, or haven’t exercised in a while, because you simply won’t enjoy it and will probably soon give up.
So set yourself realistic goals, such as exercising once or twice a week to begin with. Later, as your fitness levels start to improve, you can exercise more often.
Remember, developing fitness is all about gaining momentum, and the only way that you can gain momentum is by making a start no matter how big or how small that start may be.
3) Think About a Future Event
If you have some special event coming up in the future, such as a wedding or photo shoot, try to visualize how good you will look by getting yourself into shape.
Plan what you are going to wear for that event and how your body is going to look. This will not only help to keep you focused on your goals, but will also help to keep you motivated.
4) Create a Deadline
With every goal that you set for yourself, it’s important to have a date by which you want to complete it by. If you just set goals without a deadline, you are very unlikely to complete them because you will feel no urgency to work towards their attainment.
5) Tell a Friend
An excellent way to keep you focused on your fitness goals is to tell a friend about them. If you know that someone else knows what you’re intending to do, you will be more likely to work harder to get yourself into shape.
The reason for this is simple. People care about what other people think of them, and so we naturally try to impress the people who are important to us.
6) Make the Time
Right now you probably have a busy schedule, and so if you want to start exercising, you’re going to have to make the time for it.
Look at your schedule and decide where you can fit in time to exercise. If you are just starting off, you may only need 30-60 minutes a week. But eventually, you should be aiming for at least 30 minutes four or five days a week.
How to Stick to Exercise
Now that you know how to set goals for yourself, let’s have a look at some tips on how to stick with exercise for the long-term:
1) Do a Little to do a Lot
If you have a very busy schedule, then you may not be able to take 30 minutes or an hour out of your day to exercise. But you probably could find the time if you broke down your workout sessions into smaller segments, such as by doing 15 or 20 minute workouts.
If you were to do this three times a day, 15 minutes in the morning, 15 minutes in the afternoon, and 15 minutes in the evening, this will give you a total workout of 45 minutes each day, which most people should be able to manage no matter how busy their day is.
2) Start Slowly
Any exercise routine should start off slowly, because if you rush into things, you are likely to burn out and not enjoy what you are doing. When that happens, you will probably quit working out and then go back to your old lifestyle habits.
So if you are new to exercise, or are out of shape, start off by taking short walks as this will give your lungs, heart and muscles a gradual and gentle workout.
Alternatively, try riding a bike instead of taking a car for short journeys. Doing so will give you similar benefits to walking, and can also be very useful if you are trying to find the time to exercise.
3) Don’t Expect Immediate Results
One of the biggest mistakes that people make when first starting to exercise, is thinking that they will get instant benefits from it.
They think that their fitness levels will drastically improve over a few days, or that the shape of their body will change within a few weeks.
But when they don’t get the results they hoped for, they become disappointed, demotivated, and soon give up exercising altogether.
The important thing to remember, is that change takes time. So you may not notice the benefits of exercising, such as improved energy and fitness levels, for quite some time.
And this is exactly why so many people quit exercising so soon after starting, because they don’t feel that they are gaining any real benefit for all their time and effort.
In general, you can expect to see some results after the first month, such as improved stamina. But for most people, it will take at least 3 to 6 months before you notice any significant changes to your body.
4) Reward Yourself
One of the best ways to keep yourself motivated when exercising is to use rewards. For example, if you manage to exercise for three days a week and then give yourself a reward for doing so, you will be much more likely to continue on exercising the following week.
However, make sure that your rewards are not food based, because otherwise, you may develop the unhealthy habit of emotional eating (i.e., eating food to make you feel good).
So instead of treating yourself with a snack, do something else like going out with your friends or buying yourself a gift. Whatever you choose to use as a reward, it’s vitally important that you really enjoy it.
This is because in order for a reward to be effective, you absolutely must enjoy it. If you don’t enjoy it, the prospect of receiving that reward won’t be very motivating.
5) Do Activities You Enjoy
Whilst there are lots of different types of exercise, there are probably certain activities which you enjoy the most. So do the exercises which you enjoy, because if you do exercises which you don’t enjoy, you simply won’t be motivated to keep on doing them.
For example, if you absolutely hate running, then don’t run. Instead, do something else like walking, swimming, press-ups or sit-ups.
Over time, as your fitness improves and you develop the habit of regular exercise, you can then experiment doing different or more challenging activities.
6) Dress Up
If you have a set of clothes that you exercise in, you will soon learn to associate exercise with those clothes. Once that happens, whenever you put on those clothes, you will automatically get yourself in the mood to exercise.
7) Use Visualization
When you exercise, think about what goals you are trying to achieve. This will help to increase your motivation, and also keep you focused on your long-term objectives.
If you are exercising at home, consider putting a poster on your wall of someone who has a body that you would like to have. This can be another great way to increase your motivation by showing you the potential rewards of your effort.
8) Get an Exercise Buddy
An excellent way to stick to exercise is to find a friend who you can workout with.
If you are both starting out at the same level of fitness, and you also have similar goals, then by exercising together you will be able to motivate each other and so will be less likely to find exercise boring.
9) Add Some Variety to Your Routine
If you are exercising five days a week, week in week out, you will soon get bored following the same routine and so won’t be very motivated to keep it up.
To avoid this happening, try adding some variety to your workout sessions by incorporating different types of activities into your fitness schedule.
10) Just be Physically Active
It’s generally recommended that you exercise for 30 minutes every day. This time, however, doesn’t necessarily have to be spent in a gym.
Any form of moderate exercise such as walking, climbing stairs, or cleaning the house, can all be added to those 30 minutes. The technical name for this form of exercise is “non-exercise activity thermogenesis” or “NEAT” for short.
So even if you don’t have much free time, simply being active throughout the day can help to keep you in shape. This, of course, will only be true if you are also eating a healthy diet!
11) Join a Local Gym
Find a gym that’s relatively close to you, because if it’s far away, you will be more likely to come up with excuses as to why you shouldn’t go.
12) Exercise at the Right Time
Think about when you feel most active during the day. If you are a morning person, workout in the morning. If you are an evening person, workout in the evening. Choose the time of day that’s best for you, and schedule your workout during those times.
13) Think of the Long Term Energy
Don’t use tiredness as an excuse not to exercise, because working out will give you more energy in the long run.
So try to remember that even though you may be tired after work, exercising will help you to feel less stressed and happier overall because of the endorphins that it releases which we previously discussed.
Fitting Workouts Into Your Schedule
Some people have lots of free time, and so they can spend many hours in the gym each week if they choose. Other people, however, have very little free time, and so they find it much more difficult to exercise and keep themselves in shape.
If you want to get started exercising on a regular basis, you therefore need to look at your current lifestyle to see what time you have available to exercise in.
This, of course, will vary depending on the type of lifestyle that you live. But even if you find that you’re extremely busy, there’s still a very good chance that you could exercise more if you really wanted to.
Below we look at the most common types of lifestyles that people live, and how a particular lifestyle can affect the amount and type of exercise that a person does:
If you only work part-time and/or your hours are flexible, then you should find it quite easy to workout on a regular basis.
Since you most likely have a lot of free time, consider getting an off-peak gym membership so that you can use the gym regularly without it costing you a fortune.
When you find that you have time to kill, use that time by being active such as by going for a run or a swim.
If you are a busy parent who is constantly on their feet without much structure to their day, then fitting in the time to exercise can be difficult.
This is especially true when you start to feel exhausted towards the end of the day, as you simply won’t have the energy to do anything else except sit down and rest.
But just because you don’t have the time to go to a gym, it doesn’t mean that you can’t keep yourself fit. You could, for example, try to incorporate exercise into your daily routine such as by walking stairs, doing sit-ups, or even jogging on the spot.
If you work in addition to looking after your children, try to see if you can fit a 30 minute run or swim into your lunch break.
If you don’t have the time or energy to do any additional activities, then don’t worry about it too much, because you are probably already much more physically active than most other people are.
The reason you may not be losing weight is not because you’re not exercising, but most likely, because of your diet.
So examine what you normally eat throughout the day, and cut out any simple carbohydrates such as white flour or sugar based products.
With your level of physical activity you should start losing a significant amount of weight within a few months, just by making some simple changes to your diet!
Working Regular Hours
If you have a steady job then your working hours should be fairly predictable, and so you shouldn’t have too much difficulty finding the time to exercise in.
The problem, however, is that this predictability can lead to boredom and a lack of motivation when it comes to exercising on a long-term regular basis.
To keep things interesting, try varying the exercises you do throughout the week. For example, if you only exercise in a gym, then try exercising at other locations such as in your home or outside.
You can also make exercise fun by working out with friends. For example, going on a bike ride over the weekend, or joining a team based sport like football or hockey.
Working Long Irregular Hours
If you work long hours and often finish work after the gym has closed, and sometimes also work weekends, then finding the time to exercise can be difficult to fit into your schedule.
In cases like this, try to fit in any form of physical activity wherever and whenever you can. For example, walk somewhere, even if it’s just for a short distance, as small distances can add up to a lot over the course of a day.
If you think that you aren’t very physically active in your job, you may be moving a lot more than you think. A good way to test this is with a step counter that you attach to your waist.
If you are active, but aren’t losing weight, you would probably benefit more from focusing on your diet rather than on trying to exercise more.
If you are sitting in front of a computer for most of the day, try to stretch your legs as much as you can or do exercises at your desk. When you get home, give yourself a good workout by watching a fitness video.
Exercising Without Exercising
If going to the gym and lifting weights is something that you don’t have time for, or simply doesn’t appeal to you, you’ll be pleased to learn that it’s still possible to burn calories and lose weight without having to do any formal type of exercise!
As long as you are able to keep yourself fairly active and stick to a healthy balanced diet, you can easily achieve the recommended 30 minutes of exercise a day, and develop a great figure, without having to step foot in a gym!
Below are listed some everyday activities that can help you to do this:
Doing housework can be a great way to burn calories. For example, washing a car burns about 300 calories, making the bed about 100 calories, ironing about 100 calories, and cleaning the windows about 150 calories.
So if you are a busy parent who has lots of chores throughout the day, then you are probably already getting a very good workout.
Most housework will help to tone your arms and legs, but if you pull your tummy in while you are working, you can help to tone that up too.
Shopping for a large family can be the equivalent of a long workout session in a gym.
First, you have your aerobic exercise in the form of walking between stores and up and down aisles within a store. This helps to tone up your leg muscles, and is also beneficial for your heart and lungs.
Next, you have your anaerobic exercise. This consists of picking things up from shelves, and then carrying your bags back to the car and then later into the house. This helps to tone up your arm muscles and also strengthen your shoulders.
To get an even better workout from shopping, eat before you go so that you will burn off the calories from your meal and be less likely to buy junk foods during your shop.
Providing you can raise your heart rate and work up a sweat, gardening can be an excellent way to exercise outdoors.
For example, digging will burn around 300 calories, raking leaves around 200 calories, weeding around 200 calories, and mowing the lawn around 150 calories.
As well as being a good way of relieving stress, gardening can also be useful for giving you some fresh air and increasing your vitamin D levels via sun exposure.
In addition, touching soil has been shown to act as a natural antidepressant. This means that gardening can actually help to improve your mood as well as improve your health.
Regular sex is one of the most enjoyable forms of exercise, and it’s actually quite good at helping you to lose weight too!
A 30 minute session in the bedroom will burn around 150 calories, whilst also boosting your circulation, improving your mood, and reducing stress levels.
However, in order for you receive weight loss benefits from sex, it must last for as long as possible. So if you can only go for a few minutes, you won’t get many health benefits from it!
To maximize weight loss during sex, choose positions in which you have to do the majority of the work.
Other Ways to Exercise Without Exercising
• Instead of using the remote control to change the TV channel, get up and change it yourself and you can burn around 150 calories during an average viewing session.
• Instead of sending e-mails to your work colleagues whilst at work, walk over and talk to them yourself. The same applies to your friends or family who you could easily walk over to and speak with.
• Always take the stairs instead of taking the lift, and always walk up escalators.
• If you need to use the toilet whilst at work, use one that is further away from the one you normally use.
• Buy some fitness equipment that you can keep close by you, and then use it whenever you have a few minutes spare.
• If you are carrying things back into your house, such as your shopping from the car, carry one bag back at a time and you will burn double the amount of calories that you normally would.
Multitasking Your Time
Multitasking involves doing two or more things at once so that you make the absolute best use of your time. When you multitask, you get more done and do it quicker than had you done those activities separately.
So if you are trying to keep fit, but feel as though you don’t have the time to devote 30 or 60 minutes just to working out, why not try to multitask your exercise sessions so that you can accomplish two things at once?
Below you will find listed some examples of how this could be done:
Raise Money for Charity
If a lot of your time is spent helping charity organizations, then doing some sort of sponsored activity can help you to kill two birds with one stone.
For example, doing a sponsored bike ride or a sponsored swim means that you not only get yourself fit, but you also serve your favorite charity at the same time.
In addition, because you’re exercising for a good cause, you are likely to take it more seriously and be fully committed to it. As a result, you will probably start training for your event in advance, and so will further improve your fitness and physique!
If meeting new people and making friends is important to you, then joining the company sports team can be a good way to fulfill that need whilst also fulfilling your need to exercise.
This has the added advantage of giving you the opportunity to make new friends at work, and also to improve your teamwork skills at the same time. Both of these will help to build up your confidence levels, which may, one day, get you that promotion you’ve been after!
Fall in Love
Going to the gym or joining a sports club will allow you to meet many new people, one of whom, could be that special person you’ve been searching for!
Even if you don’t find love, you’re still likely to make friends who can help to keep you motivated and focused on your fitness goals.
If you have a friend or family member who has just moved home, or is moving out of their existing house, offering to help them move can be an excellent opportunity for a good workout.
Not only will you burn some fat and tone up your muscles, but you will also score points with your friends because you’ll be seen as a helpful person.
Find a Lifelong Companion
If you need a reason to start exercising, a dog might just provide the reason you’ve been looking for! Dogs require walking every day, and ideally, should be walked at least twice a day.
A dog can therefore be very beneficial for improving your cardiovascular health, reducing stress levels, and increasing your overall general health.
As an added bonus, you will have a new companion who will always be loyal and love you no matter what!
How to Burn More Calories at Work
Having a regular full-time job can make exercising difficult, especially if you have lots of deadlines to meet. But this doesn’t mean that you have to sit at your desk and be forced to pile on the pounds, as it is possible to get a workout at work.
Below you will find some ways to burn more calories at work, and then, in the next section, some office exercises that you can try at your desk:
Use an Exercise Ball
Instead of sitting on a chair, try sitting on an exercise ball instead. This will force you to use your core muscles (i.e., your abdominal muscles and your lower back) and also help to improve your posture.
Get Up and Move
Set your watch to beep every hour, or every two hours, and then walk around for a few minutes around the office.
Getting up to stretch your legs, even if just for a few moments, will burn calories, lower stress levels, and reduce your risk of suffering a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) by improving blood circulation.
Furthermore, if you spend long hours in front of a computer screen, walking around every hour or so will also help to reduce eyestrain and prevent backache.
Count Your Steps
A good way to encourage yourself to do more exercise is to buy a step counter (pedometer) that you attach to your waist.
This will count how many steps you do each day, from which, you can then calculate the total distance that you normally walk at work. You can then try to beat your highest number of steps by walking a little further the next day.
Keep Weight Loss in Mind
If you really want to get a good workout at work, then try to avoid taking the easy option wherever possible.
For example, instead of taking the elevator, try walking up the stairs. Or, instead of going to a restroom that’s close to you, go to one that’s further away.
By taking the harder option you will burn more calories and so will lose weight quicker.
Use a Headset
If your job involves speaking on the phone throughout much of the day, then instead of sitting down at your desk, why not get a headset so that you can walk around while you are speaking?
If you spend a lot of time on the phone, you’ll be surprised at just how many extra calories you will burn simply by standing up. And if you do start to feel tired, then you can always sit back down again!
Replace Your Coffee Break With a Walking Break
Rather than just sitting down during your breaks, try to spend some of that time walking around instead.
If you can, find someone to walk with you. Not only will this help to pass the time more quickly, but it can also be a good way to build relationships with your colleagues.
Take Your Breaks
In some companies, employees work during their break which means that they never really leave their desk throughout the course of a day.
Make sure that you always take your breaks when you’re supposed to, as this will improve your productivity for the rest of the day by reducing stress levels, improving blood circulation, and oxygenating the body.
Working Out at Your Desk
Here are some office exercises that you can do without having to leave your desk:
Tighten your stomach muscles and then breathe out as you pull your stomach in. Then, let your stomach expand out naturally when you breathe back in again. Repeat this 10 times.
Sit on the edge of your seat with your feet flat on the floor. Hold the edge of your chair as you slowly lean back a few degrees, and then return back to your original upright position. This exercise will help to strengthen the lower back.
Another variation of this exercise is to sit back in your chair, and then to lean forward so that your head ends up in front of your knees. Once you have reached this position, you can then raise yourself back up to your original sitting position.
Note: Please be extra careful doing these exercises if your chair has wheels.
Start by turning your head to the left, now breathe in and out. Repeat this by turning your head to the right. Return back to center and breathe in and out.
Lift your head up and look at the ceiling breathing in and out as you do so, and then repeat as you lower your head looking towards the floor.
Return back to center. Now gently rotate your head in a clockwise motion, and then again in an anticlockwise motion.
Stand in front of your desk about two feet away from it, and then place your hands firmly on the edge of the desk. Now bend your arms so that you lower your body towards the desk in a press-up motion. This will help to exercise your upper body and your biceps.
To exercise your triceps, stand with your back towards the desk and lower your body as you hold onto the desk in a reverse press-up motion.
If all of this seems a bit too extreme to do at your desk, try keeping some small hand weights beside you instead.
As you sit in your chair, extend one leg out in front of you and hold it for 10 -20 seconds. Repeat this motion with your other leg. As your legs grow stronger, you can increase the length of this exercise.
To make things a bit more challenging you can also attach some ankle weights to your legs.