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On staying motivated

On staying motivated

When you ask anyone what their biggest issue with regular exercise is, most will say it is getting (and staying) motivated.

How many times have you seen someone join a gym and go everyday for two weeks before stopping entirely? Or start a running program for a month before finding an excuse to stop? Usually this kind of burnout is due to making unrealistic and unsustainable exercise goals. Making your exercise program less demanding and your goals more reachable results in a more sustainable, long-term program which is more likely to be enjoyable and less likely to cause injury or frustration. Don’t force yourself into intense exercise. Listen to your body and remember that something — even a short, light workout like running for 10 minutes — is better than nothing. If you need to stop after a certain point, do it, but usually simply starting is the hardest part and it is easy to complete your workout once you get going.

Kathleen Trotter, fitness expert for the Globe and Mail, recommends making an exercise calendar and putting gold stars on days workouts are completed so there is a visual of how many times exercise is done in a month. She also recommends setting realistic goals and giving yourself a reward once a specific goal is completed with something non-food related such as a manicure, a night out with friends or a new workout outfit.

Lastly, exercise should be fun. Find an activity or sport you enjoy doing and find a way to incorporate it into your exercise routine, or, if you think it will help you, find a friend to exercise with. If it’s nice out, get outside with loved ones and have fun going for a bike ride, a walk, or playing a game. If you’re spending time outdoors frolicking with friends and family, you won’t even notice you’re getting a workout in. Fitness shouldn’t be a drag, but something you look forward to because it makes you feel great and function better.

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