How to exercise and stick with it

I couldn’t agree more with Fred Lee’s post on Wise Bread about exercising to cure the economic blues.

Yep, research shows that exercise can reduce depression and anxiety. And increased mental health is only ONE of the many great reasons to get more exercise. Personally, I like sleeping better and having more confidence and energy.

Earlier this year, you probably made a resolution to get fit in 2009. Well, now that spring is here, there’s little excuse for not putting more exercise into your routine!

Here are what I think are the keys to exercise success:

  • Find a friend to do it with you. There is no greater motivator than being held accountable for your actions! Two or more friends can lean on one another: When one of you just “doesn’t feel like it” that day, the other one will know better and get you out of the house regardless of your excuses.
  • No willing friends? Make some new ones. If you don’t have friends willing to make an exercise pact with you, check out Meetup.com. You will likely find several groups (walking, running, biking, hiking, bowling, dancing, etc.) in your area with meeting locations and times convenient for your schedule.
  • Grasp the magic. Recognize that exercise has a magic pattern. Once most folks start a new routine, they enjoy the first session or two. However, they then begin putting exercising off. Soon they no longer “feel like it”, or maybe just “can’t find the time”. But here’s the magic part: If you can push yourself through the first difficult month or two of exercise, your whole psychology begins to change, not just your body. You’ll start to love exercise and will actually find yourself MAKING time for it!
  • Visit your physician and mental health provider, and tell them about your plans to exercise. Your doctors are likely to be very encouraging and will know ways to keep you motivated – like threatening you with medications for high blood pressure or cholesterol.
  • Just do it. Even though exercise might not seem fun at first, it will make you feel better. And when you feel better, you’ll enjoy things much more – such as exercise. Bottom line? Put on those walking shoes, and head out the door. Right now.

Thoughts on this? Other ideas? Post a comment, or write to Crystal and let her know!