Exercise Even If You Can’t Afford the Gym
The gym is not the be-all and end-all when it comes to exercise, says Joan Pagano, owner of Joan Pagano Fitness in New York City and author of Strength Training for Women ($15, amazon.com). You can get in a workout virtually anywhere. Do push-ups and leg lifts at your kitchen counter while waiting for coffee to brew. Get in your cardio with a brisk lunch-hour walk. Do sit-ups during TV commercials. “If you make yourself active during all of your extra minutes, they'll add up to a stronger, fitter you,” says Pagano.
Compete With a Spouse, Partner, or Friend
“Challenging a partner to a fitness contest can help keep you motivated and focused on your fitness goal,” says Franklin Antoian, creator of the personal fitness site iBodyFit.com and author of The Fit Executive ($10, lulu.com). See who can perform the most repetitions of a specific exercise at lunch, on the weekends, or even during commercial breaks. Competing with someone else makes getting in shape more fun, and you’re more likely to stick with exercise if you’re enjoying it.
Set a Specific Goal
Having a goal to work toward—being able to run a half-marathon, for instance—is a great way to keep yourself motivated, says fitness expert Jennifer Cohen, Weight Watchers spokesperson and author of No Gym Required: Release Your Inner Rockstar ($16, jennifercohen.com). “It creates a sense of purpose because you have the feeling of getting ready for something.” Plan how to achieve your goal, breaking down your strategy into small, specific steps with a set goal date for each. So if you’re training for that half-marathon, you might first aim to run a mile, then work up to two or three, then five, etc.
Build rewards into your routine, so you‘ll look forward to exercising, advises registered dietician Bethany Thayer, spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (eatright.org.). For example, treat yourself to one (that’s one) Hershey’s Kiss for every 30 minutes of exercise, or book a massage for each month in which you successfully complete your fitness goal.
Be Accountable to Your Kids
Tell your children all about your New Year’s resolution, says personal trainer Robert Reames, a spokesperson for Gold’s Gym: “This creates great motivation for parents as we never like to disappoint our kids.” Children are honest and will let you know how well you’re progressing (or not). Bonus: They may also be motivated by your goal-setting and accomplishments.
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