12 January 2016 3 Ways to Put Fun into Exercise and Keep Your Resolutions!

In order to make your New Year’s Resolution a reality, remember that the most important part of an effective and long lasting exercise program is fun! Today on this cold January morning in Colorado, the total body fitness class I attended was full. One could feel the energy, excitement and joy of people fulfilling their resolutions. Smiles were all around me. Fun was in the air!

If exercise is a chore, rather than something you look forward to, read this enthusiastic report from one of my weight loss clients who changed her routine and thus, changed her attitude.

“I absolutely love Zumba. Time flies when I do Zumba. When I attend Zumba on a regular basis, I definitely see an improvement in my eating habits. However, when I used to do the treadmill, it used to feel like forever, and I felt myself counting down to the end. All I wanted to do was reward myself with an ice cream cone. However, with Zumba I feel energetic and not hungry.”

Exercise routines based on activities you do not like, are not going to stick or be sustainable. Thus, try these 3 tips to put the fun in exercise.

1. Go outside for 15 minutes a day

Exercising outside can remind you of the different sights, sounds, and smells of the seasons and make you feel more alive. Here are some ways to intentionally incorporate outdoor time in your daily routines.

  • Schedule time to walk on your calendar
    Walk for 15 minutes of your lunch break outside for stress relief and fresh air.
  • Walk and talk
    Rather than meeting a friend for a sit-down cup of coffee, your conversation may become deeper and more heart-felt during a nature-inspired conversation.
  • Get off the bus one or two stops earlier
    Exiting the bus just one stop before you normally get off can add 15 minutes of outside time.
  • Walking work meeting
    Instead of sitting in an office, try a walking work meeting. Steve Jobs was known for this.

I am grateful for the wisdom of the women in the small village in Germany (yes, we lived in a “dorf” with more bread stores than stoplights!) where we raised our daughter for the first two years of her life. They told me that every child needs fresh air for at least 15 minutes a day. Even now that that child is 18 years old, we continue to do something outside every day. Just these 15 minutes outside also provide enough vitamin D to help promote strong bones and prevent osteoporosis.

2. Mix up your exercise routine.

Even small changes in the types and amount of exercise you do, can not only help you get off your weight loss plateau by challenging a variety of muscle groups, but it can also make your workout more fun. Variety is the spice of life!

  • Workout at the gym in the afternoon instead of the morning. Maybe, you will find a new group of people you enjoy more exercising at that time.
  • Jog a new trail or path.
  • If you normally exercise alone, invite a friend to work out with you.
  • Tango, flamenco, swing – signing up for a dance class can increase your heart rate in 10 minutes and bring a smile to your face in 5 minutes!
  • Whether your workout goal is strength, toning, cardiovascular, abdominals, or low impact, you can easily find a new routine with printable workout visuals on this free website.
  • If music is motivating for you, search on the internet for workout playlists based on your musical preferences. Much to the humorous disbelief of my teenage daughter, I found a 70’s workout playlist online (Go Jane Fonda!).

3. Identify a new challenge or goal.

Even if you are new to exercising or regularly workout, trying to meet a new challenge or goal can be motivating and fun.

  • Buy a pedometer. Walk 3,000 steps each day and then work your way up to 10,000 steps each day.
  • Exercise 10 minutes a day for 30 days with this routine.
  • Choose 8 pound weights instead of 5 pound weights.
  • Complete your normal 15-minute walk in 14 minutes. Walk a block. Run a block.
  • Sign up for a marathon and follow this training plan designed for new runners.

If you do not look forward to your activity routine, then change it by going outside, mixing it up and identifying a new challenge or goal. Daily exercise is an action that shows you are making good choices. Many weight loss clients of mine, find that first they have to focus on creating an exercise routine before they can start eating healthier. Once they start exercising, they start making healthier food choices. Thus, sustain your physical activities by increasing the fun factor and keep your resolutions!

Martha Henze

MS, RD, Traveling Taste Buds, LLC

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Disclaimer: The information provided here does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit your healthcare provider or medical professional.

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