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Think Yourself Thin: 9 Great Exercise Tips

Do you exercise?  Hand on heart do you get out of your chair at least three times a week and get your butt into gear?  Do you dance, jog, swim, walk, play football or even skip?

Over the past couple of months I’ve been working on a series of Think Yourself Thin posts and now we’ve reached the point where we need to cover exercise.  Why would you want to exercise?  Well obviously in this context we’ve been talking about how to achieve and maintain your ideal weight – exercise is an important part of that mission.  But why else exercise?  Could it be to have better skin, increased mental clarity and performance, increased energy and sex drive, to combat stress, or even to reverse the aging process?  Wouldn’t those be great outcomes of exercising regularly too?

#1 Set a goal for exercise:  just as you did for your weight.  Have a plan of what you’re going to do when and consider how that will fit with your work, your family and your life in general.  I may be a qualified aerobics instructor (not a lot of people know that!), but I am most certainly not your doctor and don’t know your personal circumstances – so if it’s been a while since you’ve exercised, or you have even the tiniest concern, go get medical advice BEFORE you start.

#2 Variety is the spice of life: yep, that old chestnut.  Doing one form of exercise is fine, but it gets repetitive and boring fast.  Plus it’s not the best for your body.  Make sure you include variety – I swim, cycle and kickbox every week.  Pick things you’re passionate about and that give you flexibility in terms of how you can fit them into your day.   For example, I kickbox on my XBox when I only have 30 minutes of my day to use for exercise.  I cycle when I want fresh air and new horizons to stimulate my creativity.  And I love to swim early in the morning, when the extra time required fits into my schedule, and I can be the first to break that glassy calm of the pool.

#3 Don’t set the bar too high: getting out of your chair and going for a walk is exercise and if you’re just starting out then it’s perfect… 20 minutes, 3 times a week should be your starting point.  If you haven’t exercised for a while, don’t expect to run a marathon next week.  Start slow and build up.  You can find lots of great running programs, for example, on the internet to guide you through from absolute beginner to half marathon runner in a matter of months.   

#4 Keep it simple:  don’t try to get be too clever or make things too complicated.  Exercise can be as simple as buying a pedometer (available at most sports shops) and measuring the number of steps per day on an average day.  Then you can set yourself targets to increase that from 2000 to 3000 or 5000 to 8000.  10 000 steps is a great place to get to…  In your every day life consider how you can take just that little bit of extra exercise – take the stairs instead of the escalator or lift; walk to the shops or to collect the kids, instead of driving; or even walk upstairs to get something with an extra bounce on each stair!

#5 Consistency counts: – a little exercise every day is wonderful if you can do it.  At least never skip exercising two days or more in a row.

#6 Make exercise an integral part of your day and your life: there’s no two ways about it, exercise is good for you!  It may be about achieving your ideal weight right now, but the long-term benefits to your health and wellbeing are overwhelming.  Many start exercising, but few succeed in keeping it going.  Why?  Because they don’t make it an integral part of their lives.  Sit down on a Sunday evening and plan where your exercise will fit in the coming week.

#7 If you’re in the room, be in the room: focus on what you’re doing and don’t let yourself be distracted.  20 minutes focused and concentrated exercise, where you do your best the whole way through, is much more useful than 60 minutes of flapping about while thinking about what to cook for dinner…

#8 Give yourself due credit – you deserve credit for your effort.  Be nice to yourself.  Congratulate yourself at the end of a week when you’ve stuck to your exercise goals.

#9 Prioritize exercise – no more excuses!  Hold yourself accountable and drop those excuses forever.  I’ve heard them all – well… we’ve just been so busy lately, I’ve been travelling so much, I just haven’t felt like it…..  In other words exercise isn’t important to you and you’ve chosen to do other things and not fit exercise into your schedule.  You need to make a conscious choice to move exercise up your values hierarchy and make it a priority. 

So what gets you out of your chair to go and exercise?  Do you have any great tips that others benefit from hearing?

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5 responses to “Think Yourself Thin: 9 Great Exercise Tips

  1. Thanks for the link back! Great tips on getting started with exercise. I have to tell myself every day that it’s okay if I only get in 20 minutes of walking because it’s 20 more than I did last week.

  2. Pingback: Think Yourself Thin: The Ultimate Guide | GATEHOUSE THIRTEEN

  3. Pingback: Review of 2012 – Think Yourself Thin: Nine Great Exercise Tips (Day 9/12) | GATEHOUSE THIRTEEN

  4. Pingback: Review of 2012 – Think Yourself Thin: Nine Great Exercise Tips (Day 9/12) | GATEHOUSE THIRTEEN

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