A Change That Lasts: 6 Tips to Include Exercise In Your Routine

Go to the gym? Right. I barely have enough time to do everything else on my to-do list.

This is something I have found myself saying over and over again. But, as my body was beginning to change in ways I didn’t want and my energy level was decreasing, I knew I needed to make a change.

Where to Begin?

I will be the first to admit that exercising did not sound very fun to me. But I was dedicated to making a change. So I took the same approach to exercise as I did with eating healthier: planning. I have found that planning is essential for making a change that works and for a change that lasts.

Helpful Hints

  1. Get out that planner or iPhone! Once again, look at your schedule for the week. What are your personal and family obligations? Write everything down. You’ll be able to see the gaps in your week and where you can fit in some time for exercise.
  2. Pencil it in. This is my biggest tip! Write when you will workout in your planner. If it’s not incorporated into your schedule, chances are you won’t do it. Try working out in the morning before your day begins. You will get a spike of endorphins to start the day, which will make you feel energized! You’ll also have it out of the way for the day. However, if mornings just don’t seem to agree with you (which is the case with me), workout after you leave the office. Belong to a gym? Pack your gym bag in the car and stop there on your way home. This will help you avoid the temptation of getting home and not feeling like changing and driving to the gym.

Having trouble finding gaps of time during your day? Try these easy tips to get moving:

  1. Park your car at the last spot in the parking lot
  2. Take the stairs
  3. Take a lap around the office during your break
  4. With the help of apps, you can even find some to do at your desk
  5. Use Pinterest. Whether your goal is to complete a 5K or you just want to tone your muscles, Pinterest is a great place to find training plans and workout routines. I personally love using Pinterest to find circuit routines. You can search by target areas (abs, arms, legs, etc.) and even create boards for each. This will make life easier when you just want to find a quick routine to hit those trouble spots.
  6. Aim for 30 minutes of cardio. Take the dog for a jog. Go on a walk with a neighbor. Do a bike ride with the family. Anything to get your heart pumping! Cardio has so many benefits, including stronger heart and lungs, reduced stress, more energy and weight loss.
  7. Aim for 20 minutes of toning. Weight training is great if you are looking to tone your muscles and lose inches. Whether it is weight machines at the gym or dumbbells at home, strength training provides many benefits, including increased bone density and boosted stamina. Additionally, strength training helps control weight. As you gain more muscle, your body begins to burn calories more efficiently.
  8. Fuel up after! During exercise, your body loses a lot of fuel. You burn through meals eaten earlier in the day and lose water through sweat. Eating after a workout is essential for the recovery of losses during a workout and for storing that recovery fuel. Generally, protein and carbs are the best things to eat. Protein provides the amino acids necessary to rebuild muscle tissue that is damaged during exercise, while carbohydrates replace glycogen and water losses during exercise. My favorite post workout snack is a banana and peanut butter. J But, you could also make yourself a protein shake. My personal favorite is a “Nutty Shamrock” (almond milk, peanut butter, banana, spinach, chocolate protein powder and ice).

Remember, our body is meant to move!

Do you have a job where most hours are spent sitting at a desk? How do you feel at the end of the day? Your muscles are probably tight, your back aches and there is tension in your shoulders. Now think about how you feel after some physical activity. Your muscles are warm, flexible and blood is pumping through your body, providing oxygen and energy to your body.

Our bodies are not meant be stationary. We are made to move! If you continue to exercise, I guarantee it will stick. Your body will get so accustomed to moving, that it will begin to crave the movement.

Since incorporating physical activity into my daily life, my body feels weird if I don’t do anything. I no longer see working out as a dreadful thing, but something that will energize me! And dare I say it, I have actually grown to enjoy exercising! And, my hope is that you will, too! Remember, it takes 21 days to form a habit. So what if you miss a few days? We all have days that are jam-packed. But don’t give up! Tomorrow is always a brand new day.