Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Staying Motivated to Exercise

This post is part of the February 2014 Carnival of Natural Mothering. Our topic this month is Movement. 

While most of us agree staying in shape is important, finding the motivation to actually do it each day/most days proves much more difficult. Here are my best tips for motivating yourself to exercise regularly:

Make it mandatory

This is the biggest one for me. If I wake up in the morning and ask myself if I feel like exercising, a lot of the time the answer is going to be "no". If I instead look at is as something I simply *must* do today, I can usually find a way to fit it into my schedule, and I always feel better after doing it. Much like washing dishes, brushing your teeth, etc, if you consider it a must and work to fit it in the schedule, exercise will be much more likely to happen than if you consider it optional and decide each day. I guess this tip for staying motivated is actually to not worry about if you're feeling motivated or not-just exercise anyway and don't give yourself an easy out!

Build in breaks 

This tip naturally complements the other. There are going to be days when you aren't just feeling lazy but actually sick, or baby is teething and just got shots and you have zero time or energy left for exercise, or whatever. Plus it is good for your muscles to have occasional days off to recover. Right now I'm doing a fitness challenge with The Babywearing Workout that calls for 5 days of exercise each week. Because it has two built in days off each week, this plan works well for me. When stuff comes up, I take one of my "off days"!

Find an exercise you love...or at least tolerate

My husband was recently a bit baffled when I turned down the opoortunity to use his parents treadmill on a regular basis for exercise. Many people love treadmills and find them an essential part of their fitness routine. But for me, they are torturous! I would not stick with a fitness routine that was primarily centered on treadmill time because it would be extremely unpleasant for me. 
But I really think everyone can find an exercise routine that works for them and is at the very least neutral, but probably even enjoyable. 
For me right now, that's The Babywearing Workout. I have a full review here, but in short, it's a fitness video designed to be done while you have a baby in a carrier. Since my son takes at least one nap in a woven wrap each day, this works very easily into my schedule and I find it enjoyable to do together (even if his contribution is just to snuggle!)
When the weather warms up, I also love going on lots of long walks while babywearing or using a stroller. With my older son I got down to ten pounds below pre-pregnancy weight when he was a year old just by going on tons of long walks over the hilly terrain by our apartment at the time!

If you haven't yet found something you love, try lots of different things to figure out which exercises you hate and which you tolerate and hopefully which you love! My public library has many fitness DVDs available for free, so I've tried several of those. I like Tae Bobut not Zumba(mainly because I am a terrible dancer with no rhythm and can't keep up at allll!) for example! 

How do you stay motivated to exercise regularly?

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Olivia @ This West Coast Mommy said...

I've never heard of the babywearing workout, but what a great idea! I'm already wearing my babe, why not?

Katy Hobbs said...

After long experience, I realized I always want to like workout videos, but I just never do. I've tried all sorts, and I can't stand them for longer than a week. I think it's because I can't do anything mental while I'm watching them. I like to do soemthing else with my brain while I work out. My favorite thing is to get outside and walk or jog with the kiddos in a stroller, but I can stand the treadmill or exercise bike as long as I can listen to a podcast or audio book or watch TV while I'm at it.

Jennifer @ Every Breath I Take said...

I agree, life is too short to do exercise or movement that you don't love!

Leilani said...

Hello from SITS Comment Love! I totally agree--gotta love the exercise. I refuse to step on a treadmill. Hate machines! But I love classes and hate to miss even one.

Lauren said...

You go girl! Finding an exercise you love is key! I teach group exercise and having a class and a group of people I look forward to seeing every day really makes it easy for me to stick with a routine! #sitsblogging

Kimberly H. Smith said...

Make it mandatory. I like that. I will find an easy out in a minute. Thanks for sharing. #SITSBlogging