We all love the health benefits that come with regular exercise, but how many of us wish they came without the effort (read: pain) involved in working out. Many of us even go as far as signing up for gym, but end up making excuses about how ‘busy’ we are when it’s time to get to work.

Any battle that requires a change of mindset is the most difficult to face. If you’re anti-exercise, the first step is to change your feelings about it. A 2009 study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology found that it could take from 18 to 254 days for one to internalise a good habit and start doing it without being prompted.

The key of course is that we constantly need to fight off those negative voices in our heads that tell us to rather relax when it’s time to work out. The following tips will help you eagerly jump out of bed in anticipation of the workout that awaits. The road to fitness begins here:

  1. Experts advise making exercise a part of your life by diarising it with the rest of your other appointments or even listing it on your to-do list. In that way, you can’t make excuses about it slipping your mind.
  2. Don’t choose a method of exercising that will require you to drive an hour out of town in peak traffic. Be realistic and go with something that is convenient and fits into your life. In this way, even when you’re out of town or travelling, it won’t be easy to fall off the wagon.
  3. Nothing provides a sense of achievement quite like looking at the fitness goals and realising that you’ve met, if not surpassed all of them. If you’re still a road-running novice, aim to enter a marathon before the end of the year (nothing ambitious like the Comrades just yet though.)
  4. Create workout music mixes for each day of the week or listen to a new album during your work out. It makes the pain bearable.
  5. If you genuinely have a choc-a-block schedule, opt for short-term, high-intensity training, with brief breaks, as this tends to be more effective than long workouts.
  6. Try out different forms of exercise to keep boredom at bay. If you’ve been doing pilates for six months, perhaps introduce swimming or something that poses a challenge to your body like anti-gravity yoga.
  7. Ever heard the saying: you are the top five people that you spend most of your time with. Team up with a friend or group of people who are committed to fitness.
  8. Just as snoozing the alarm is a bad habit, simply grab your sneakers and change into workout gear when the thought of a workout visits your head.
  9. Don’t ever skip a day. Slipping back into your old habits is easier than you think.
  10. Focus on making exercise a daily routine rather than focusing on how much weight you’ve lost or how much muscle you’ve built since you started. The results will come once the thought of exercising doesn’t make you want to go into hiding.


SOURCES: Best Health Mag, Women’s Health, Zen Habits, Entrepreneur, Weight Watchers