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Fitness motivation needed
Old 11-02-2011, 09:36 PM   #1
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Fitness motivation needed

We've just been through a gruelling 2 years of elder care and I'm determined to get more fit, making whatever time I have on Earth more enjoyable. I've taken up a modest weight program with hand and ankle weights and have been doing some regular stretching exercises which have resulted in some improved flexibility. I walk modestly but need to ramp up the aerobic part of this fitness program. Hard to do after working all day - I'm not early retired yet! What do you all do to keep yourself motivated on your fitness programs?
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Old 11-02-2011, 09:51 PM   #2
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When I was working, I joined a gym and used to attend exercise classes after work. I got to know the instructors and other participants and had a definite time each day to turn up.

At weekends DW and I got in the habit of riding our bikes early in the morning, ending up at a cafe for breakfast. Shared experience, set times, something to look forward to each week.
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Old 11-02-2011, 10:07 PM   #3
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Make it a social occasion where possible - group or family hikes, exercise classes etc

Vary the routine - try a wide range of things and work out what you enjoy most. Yoga, running, hiking, swimming, weights.....

Even on days when you don't feel like doing anything, do something - if I didn't feel like exercising, I'd still go to the gym and spend some time on a stationary bike with a book

Sign up for a 5K run/walk - pick something that is a little bit of a stretch in terms of effort and not too far out in terms of time
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Old 11-02-2011, 10:08 PM   #4
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It's hard to try to go to the gym after an exhausting day's work, but before I retired I tried to do that. Oh, and also sometimes I used to go on a walk at lunch time. Given that I only had 20 minutes to walk as well as get and eat lunch, it was usually not much of a walk.

One of my main endeavors and accomplishments since retiring, is trying to make up for decades of sedentary life. I am getting fit now, and it feels great.
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Old 11-02-2011, 10:34 PM   #5
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Set aside 45 minutes for exercise every day, and make a commitment that nothing will stop you from exercising. Make exercise your priority. After a month or 2 or 3 of not missing a day, it becomes easier because you don't want to break the streak.

Like mentioned above, do a variety of exercises. variety will minimize strain on your joints and keep you from getting bored. Also do a variety of running/walking/hiking/biking routes.

Like mentioned above, get someone to exercise with.

Treat yourself to exercise gear/clothing etc as a reward for exercising. Then you'll want to keep exercising to avoid the feeling that you've wasted money on something you seldom use.
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Old 11-02-2011, 11:16 PM   #6
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What do you all do to keep yourself motivated on your fitness programs?
I don't make it a matter of motivation. If I did, I couldn't keep it up, because I'm not good at motivational stuff. Every morning, I do it without wanting to or asking myself why do it. To be is to exercise.
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Old 11-03-2011, 07:34 AM   #7
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Set aside 45 minutes for exercise every day, and make a commitment that nothing will stop you from exercising. Make exercise your priority. After a month or 2 or 3 of not missing a day, it becomes easier because you don't want to break the streak.

Like mentioned above, do a variety of exercises. variety will minimize strain on your joints and keep you from getting bored. Also do a variety of running/walking/hiking/biking routes.

Like mentioned above, get someone to exercise with.

Treat yourself to exercise gear/clothing etc as a reward for exercising. Then you'll want to keep exercising to avoid the feeling that you've wasted money on something you seldom use.
This is just the advice I would give. Making that "hard schedule" commitment isn't easy at first, but as the weeks go by it gets progressively easier. After a while, you start to feel a sense of loss if you miss your scheduled workout.

Don't forget to listen to your body. If you need a rest day, take it.
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Old 11-03-2011, 07:42 AM   #8
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A few sources of motivation for me: looking in the mirror and seeing a more physically fit me; better BP and blood test results, and improved strength and endurance.
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Old 11-03-2011, 08:05 AM   #9
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bikeknit, the trick for me is to find oddball types of exercises and classes to take, just to make it interesting and more challenging. Among my exercise interests in the past and now: pole dancing (fitness, not to earn extra money), hula hooping, aerial yoga, and circus classes focusing on trapeze and aerial silks--which I'm doing right now and love!

I can't just do a boring stint on a treadmill every day. But finding cool stuff that keeps my mind AND my body working, that's the ticket.
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Old 11-03-2011, 08:48 AM   #10
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You don't have to do aerobic exercises every day, and if you try to do so you may very well burn out. 3-4 times per week is sufficient. And, since Saturday and Sunday are part of the week, that means you may only have to force yourself once or twice per week on weeknights, after work.
Try to commit to a brisk 30-minute walk after work, but before dinner. Take your Ipod with you and enjoy the walk. If you're not able to do 30 minutes briskly, do whatever time you can, and slowly/steadily increase the length of the brisk walks until you can get to that 30 minute mark. Do this once or twice midweek, and one or both weekend days, and you're on your way.
I'm a runner, but when I was 50 pounds heavier this was how I started. This time of year it can be tough (depending on where you live) to take those early evening walks in the cold and dark, but I reconcile that with looking forward to the weekend runs or walks, and realizing I only have to be out there a half hour or so.
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Old 11-03-2011, 08:51 AM   #11
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What do you all do to keep yourself motivated on your fitness programs?
This guy does the job for me. Took this pic just yesterday on our 5 mile walk.



I can't do the gym thing, too boring for me. But if you have a good friend that you could talk into going to the gym, perhaps you two could motivate each other.
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Old 11-03-2011, 09:02 AM   #12
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I have no will power. I pretty much always do what I like the most. I cannot just "make" myself do something for a prolonged period. It means have to structure my time and living space so the activities I want to have done just happen. I also hate sports.

I have exercised 3-5 times a week for most of my life.

The key is lifestyle integration. It depends on where you are at in life and the type of person you are.

For me, now, I have a home gym setup and primarily watch TV / movies while I am exercising. Literally, the only TV in my home is in my gym. It turns out having some quiet time to myself and zoning out is really pleasant. I crave it. Once I get caught up in a series on netflix, it's on.

My wife and I have our most open discussions when we walk. We enjoy that time, so we do it.

Back when I lived in small apartments, going to the gym in the morning was a chance to escape my cramped place and avoid the morning train commute rush. Going from the suburbs to a city on an almost empty train vs. sitting shoulder to shoulder with some sweaty guy was a big motivator for me.

IMO for a working person that depends on the gym to get exercise, morning workouts are a must.

I think sports and group fitness class are great for social people. For me personally, when going into an office, I have more than enough socialization. Adding people to my exercise is just draining. I also have problems moderating my intensity level when working out with other people. I'll exert myself so hard I leave the gym dizzy with a headache.
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Old 11-03-2011, 09:05 AM   #13
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Mostly echoing what's already been said.

Find something you like and can stick with, and schedule it in. Then if you get asked to work late or go to some social thing you don't really care about, you can say that you have another commitment.

Or if there's not one thing that you really like to do, mix it up. That's probably even better, to work different muscles and do aerobic and anaerobic, but I found, for example, I don't really like swimming so I didn't stick with that even if I was only doing it once a week.

Find an exercise buddy or group, if that's what you need. Some find it easier to go solo as you can set your own schedule.

If you can get into it you will definitely feel better. Just walking around, doing chores, etc, will go a lot easier if you are in shape.

Talk to others. Maybe they'll motivate you, or give you ideas. I don't know if this will help, or overwhelm you, but I'm running a 50 mile race (I hear its actually 54) on Saturday, a few days before my 50th birthday. I couldn't have imagined doing this 15 years ago.
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Old 11-03-2011, 09:59 AM   #14
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I'm running a 50 mile race (I hear its actually 54) on Saturday, a few days before my 50th birthday. I couldn't have imagined doing this 15 years ago.
Good luck on the 50 Mile! I did my first one earlier this spring and it's going to be an annual thing, despite the promise I made myself the day after to never do another one I hope the weather cooperates for you!

Bikeknit -- Great advice already! Motivation is overrated. You never hear people talking about how they're just not motivated to brush their teeth -- it's something you just do for your health.

From the squatrx blog (who says it better than I could!):

Squat Rx: "Motivation" is Overrated

Motivation is over-rated. Stop waiting to get motivated. Motivation and enthusiasm will always come and go. Even the best athletes in the world don't always "feel like" training, but they do it anyway. Instead of waiting, start training for something and train frequently. Do NOT destroy yourself every training session, but do something almost everyday. Make training a habit. By making it a habit, you are virtually eliminating emotion from the decision-making process and, if the habit is ingrained deeply enough, there is no decision to make about training or not - you will train period.

Creating the right habits, mentally and physically, will help sustain you through the valleys and long plateaus.

Me again: I found one of the most helpful things in the beginning, before it truly was a habit, was to use positive reinforcement on myself.

I use one of the free calendars I get every year and write down what I did. If I'm training for a race, I'll also write in my training schedule. Now, seeing the filled-in days is reward enough, but in the beginning, I'd get myself a little something (usually fitness-related, like a new pair of shorts or yoga DVD) only if I met goals -- like having 24 of the 30 days filled in with activity.

Now, every year I make fitness goals -- for example, run X number of races, win X number of age group awards, run a PR at a certain distance, bench half my body weight, etc. This helps to keep things interesting and challenging.

Good luck!
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Thanks for all of the great ideas
Old 11-03-2011, 02:10 PM   #15
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Thanks for all of the great ideas

Thanks for all of the helpful replies. It looks like making exercise a habit is the first goal.

My husband is much better at this than I am and I think it is because he exercises before he pursues other priorities. I tend to think I need to make dinner or some other chore before I can exercise. I need to reverse that.

I'm on my way with weights - have been doing that at least twice a week for . And I'll start focusing on an evening bike ride or walk most, if not every day. I'm not interested in racing but I want to stay active for a long time so I know that I need to do this.
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Old 11-03-2011, 02:16 PM   #16
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I'm not interested in racing but I want to stay active for a long time so I know that I need to do this.
Your program sounds great, and I think everyone does need to do it.
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Old 11-03-2011, 02:20 PM   #17
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.... aerial yoga, and circus classes focusing on trapeze and aerial silks--which I'm doing right now and love!
So, do you use an iPhone or something? That sounds like good brain exercises as well as physical exercise
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Old 11-03-2011, 02:45 PM   #18
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So, do you use an iPhone or something? That sounds like good brain exercises as well as physical exercise
....sigh, those literal types.
I meant that is what I'm doing for exercise, currently.
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Old 11-03-2011, 02:55 PM   #19
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....sigh, those literal types.
I meant that is what I'm doing for exercise, currently.
Pity - that ruined a great mental image I had of you swinging upside down, while keeping a hula hoop going, and posting on this thread at the same time.
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Old 11-03-2011, 02:55 PM   #20
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This guy does the job for me. Took this pic just yesterday on our 5 mile walk.



I can't do the gym thing, too boring for me. But if you have a good friend that you could talk into going to the gym, perhaps you two could motivate each other.
+1 Nothing is as persistent as a dog that wants its walk now. We get in 2 to 3 miles a day rain or shine, hot or cold. Dog looks great, too.
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