Once you've taken the steps to make sure that you are exercising safely, then you need to think about what will make you want to do it. Practicality and comfort can take you a long way. Make sure you do the following.
- Wear comfortable, appropriate clothes.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Choose activities you enjoy.
- Work out with a friend.
- Don't compete with others.
Wear Comfortable, Appropriate Clothes
Choose clothes appropriate for your activity and the weather.
How the right clothes help you stick with exercise. No one wants to exercise if they get too hot or cold or if their clothes or shoes are uncomfortable. So take the extra effort to be kind to yourself and prepare with proper clothing. Plus the right gear can help you identify yourself as an exerciser - that's part of developing a fitness mind-set that keeps you going.
How to dress properly for exercise. Use common sense. Also follow these tips.
- On hot days, wear light, loose-fitting clothing to stay cool and avoid heat-related illness.
- On cold days, wear layers of clothing along with a hat and gloves.
- Be sure to wear sturdy shoes that are right for the exercise you are doing. The shoes should be comfortable, fit well, and provide plenty of support.
- Wear any other protective gear designed for your activity. For instance, wear knee pads, wrist guards, and a helmet for skating. Wear a helmet if you ride a bike.
- If you will be exercising outside in the dark, such as running or cycling at night, wear reflective clothing so you're easier to see.
Drink Plenty of Water
It's important to drink plenty of water before, during, and after physical activity, especially during warm weather.
How water helps you stick with exercise. Drinking water helps your body keep you cool while you work out. If you don't drink enough water to replace what you lose by sweating, you may develop symptoms of dehydration, such as a headache. You'll feel better and be able to perform better if you make sure you are well hydrated.
How to drink enough water. Don't wait until you're thirsty. You need water before this happens. Drink at least 1 cup of water before, during, and after exercising unless your doctor has told you otherwise. Be sure to drink at least 8 cups of water every day.
Choose Activities You Enjoy
Your physical activity should be fun, not exhausting or frustrating.
How fun activities help you stick with exercise. The more you enjoy your exercise routine, the more likely you are to stick with it. It sounds simple, but people still sometimes push themselves to do activities they think they should do or that someone else wants them to instead of what they want to do for themselves.
How to find activities that fit your interests. Think about your preferences as you look for exercise options. Do you prefer to be inside or outside? Would you rather work out alone or with others? Is there a sport you enjoy playing? Do you like working out at a gym? Choose the routine that suits you best.
If you find yourself becoming bored with one type of activity, try something different or add a new element to your activity. For instance, if you walk or cycle the same route every day, try a different route. If you normally walk or bike in the city, head for the country. Also try alternating activities - bike on Monday and Wednesday, walk or jog on Tuesday and Thursday, dance on Friday, and swim on Saturday.
Work Out With a Friend
Teaming up with a fellow exerciser is a great way to make time for your body and your friends.
How a partner helps you stick with exercise. It can be very motivating to have someone else rely on you to be an exercise partner. A partner can get you out and working when you would rather stay home alone. Also, exercising with someone else turns fitness time into social time.
How to use your workout buddy. Pick someone who has the same exercise interests and roughly the same fitness level as you do. If you don't have an exercise partner, try joining an exercise class. You can also look for a club that's based on physical activity, such as a hiking or walking club. If you can't find one that you want to join, start one in your neighborhood or at your workplace.
Don't Compete With Others
Make your exercise program a time when you focus on steadily improving your own performance. Remember, your goal is to reduce your risk for heart disease. You don't need to compete with others. Don't worry that someone else is more fit than you are. Instead, focus on telling yourself how important it is each time you make the effort to exercise.