Starting a fitness routine can be tough, especially in this fast paced world we live in. Everybody’s busy – you have to make time for yourself to exercise. Whether it’s at 11 p.m. or 6 a.m., a regular workout routine will help to make you feel more in control of your health. Having small children can make it more challenging to sneak in those workouts. Be creative! Remember, you don’t always have to hire a sitter, or even leave the house to make exercise a part of your life.

Here are some ideas on how to get started, and stay motivated:

• Set goals – Make your goals realistic and attainable. A short-term goal might be to exercise for 5 minutes once or twice a day, then gradually increase as you progress. Your long-term goal may be to build up to 30-60 minutes of exercise 4-5 times per week.

• Put it on paper – What are you hoping to achieve? Lose weight? Boost energy? Sleep better? Manage a chronic health condition? Writing it down may help you stay motivated. Also, logging your exercise duration and how you feel after will help remind you that you are making progress.

• Make exercise a part of your daily routine – Schedule workouts like you would schedule anything else. Exercising first thing in the morning may help eliminate excuses that may come up later. Once you are done, you can concentrate on the rest of the day and not have to worry about trying to fit it in. Also, exercise is a mood regulator – you may find that you are in a better mood for the rest of the day after exercising right away in the morning.

• Make it fun – Mix it up! If you’re not enjoying yourself, try something else. Modern exercise machines have many different options to keep things fresh. Watching TV while on an elliptical machine or listening to music while pedaling an exercise bike can also make the workout go by much faster. Workout DVDs are great – there are so many different ones out there for cardio, strength training, circuit training, yoga, pilates, etc. You can rotate them monthly, or more often, to work different muscles or just to spice things up.

• Be flexible – If you do find life getting in the way of your workouts, take a day or two off and relax. Don’t beat yourself up if you slide a bit. Just get back to it as soon as you can.

• Join forces with friends, family, or neighbours – You are not alone! Try and recruit others to join you in your fitness quest. Having someone to support you and maybe even workout with can be priceless. • Reward yourself – After exercising, take a few minutes to enjoy that exhilarating feeling of a hard workout. This type of reward can help you make a long-term commitment to regular exercise. When reaching a long-term goal, treat yourself to a new pair of athletic shoes, new workout gear, or even something unrelated, like a new dress, trendy new shoes, or whatever tickles your fancy. Never make food a reward for exercise – you don’t want to cancel out all of your hard work by eating badly.

Remember – Fitness is for Life. As you progress toward your fitness goals, you will find yourself looking forward to your regular exercise routine. Also, remember that eating healthy and regular exercise go hand in hand. You cannot exercise away a bad diet.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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