How to make exercise a normal part of your life

A regular exercise routine is about being real with yourself. Fit it in with your real interests, real energy level, real life, and real attention span.

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  • I used to be one of those people who thought exercise was a good idea, but thought it was something that only other people did. But friends, I have reached the other side. I am now among the ranks of those who exercise four or five times a week.

  • It wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be. If I can do it, you can too — especially because I’ve written down the things that helped me the most. Just find something you love, do it at the time that works best for you while deviating minimally from your routine and mix it up a little every day. Read on to find out more.

  • Find a method of exercise that you love

  • I’ve tried a lot of different exercise methods over the years like going to the gym with and without friends, participating in sports and having exercise equipment at home. None of it stuck and I’d go eat ice cream to make myself feel better about failing again.

  • It wasn’t until I hearkened back to something that I’ve always loved that I fit exercise into my life again. Growing up, my best friend and I would go on rambling walks through the woods behind her house. I found a park nearby with a maze of nature trails that remind me of those beloved walks. Now, it’s the highlight of my day to go for a brisk walk under the trees.

  • Is there a form of exercise that you secretly love? Has life gotten in the way? Nudge life out of the way again and start doing it, whether it’s jump rope, baseball or swimming. You’re never too old or too chunky to be true to who you have always been. Besides, it needs to be enjoyable in some essential part of you in order for the change to really stick.

  • Plan to exercise during your most alert, active part of the day

  • I am a morning person. If I don’t feel like doing an important task, I schedule it in the morning because that is when I have the most motivation and enthusiasm. Exercise is included on this list.

  • Maybe you really hit your stride in the afternoon, or you come alive when the sun goes down. No matter what time it is, set aside a chunk of time to burn a few calories and love life a little more.

  • Make exercise fit as closely as possible with your normal routine

  • I drop off my husband in the morning, and hit the park on the way home. It’s not out of the way and it doesn’t require going home to change into gym clothes. If your favorite form of exercise seems a bit out-of-the-way, there are still ways to make it feel like it fits. Find a friend who lives in that part of town, and schedule a weekly play date for your kids at her house. Start going to a grocery store near your exercise venue and use walking through the store as the cool down portion of your workout.

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  • Find a way to put variety into your exercise regimen

  • Any form of exercise can have elements added to it to make it refreshing. If you like to run, try a new route or bring wrist weights. If you love exercise videos, try putting the DVD on mute while you jam to music. If you favor team sports, bring a new friend to it so you can share the joy a bit. Adding novelty to your exercise program helps you to stick to it without getting bored.

  • Mostly, a regular exercise routine is about being real with yourself. Fit it in with your real interests, real energy level, real life, and real attention span. Soon, you too will be amazed that exercising regularly is part of the real you.

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Sara Hagmann is a stay-at-home wife and writer who loves traveling, cooking, and kissing her husband. A lot.

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