Wellness Tips

Your guide for achieving optimal health ...

To help you on your wellness journey, sign up for your weekly wellness tip and receive a free healthy recipe as a thank you!


powered by EZezine








tips archive
about Vreni Gurd

NLC Resources


Exercise - Staying Motivated

Now with the holiday season upon us, and the New Year is only a couple of weeks away, thoughts of beginning an exercise program may again be surfacing. We all know we should exercise, and many of us start with good intentions, but after a few weeks, other activities seem to be a whole lot more fun, and the exercise program goes by the wayside.

So, what can you do to stay motivated? Setting concrete, realistic goals is a good place to start. In ten months I will be fulfilling a longstanding dream of mine - hiking the Grand Canyon - 6000 feet up and down, with a 50+ pound knapsack on my back, probably walking at least 6 hours a day. I'm told there may even be some scrambles. Believe me, that is good motivation to stick to an exercise program! This trip is something I really want to do, and I must be prepared so that I can handle it. My goal is very concrete - I know the time-frame, I know how much weight I will be carrying and I know that I need to become good at hiking uphill as well as downhill for hours in a row over several days in a row. What goal do you have that you can link to your exercise program? Is there an activity you want to do? Do you have an aesthetic goal? Can you quantify your goal in some way so you know whether or not you have achieved it? (If your goal is to lose weight, I would suggest that you switch your goal to losing body fat. Measuring your progress on a scale can be very deceiving, as muscle weighs more than fat. It is very possible to lose fat, look slimmer, and yet weigh more.)

Once you know your goal, you can plan your strategy for achieving it. Using the example of fat loss, the best way to achieve that goal is to weight train. As your muscles become stronger and more dense, you increase your metabolic rate, meaning you burn more calories per hour all day long. Steady-state cardiovascular training like cycling or running is catabolic, meaning it decreases muscle mass, which is not helpful to the goal of fat loss as it will decrease your metabolic rate. Hire a qualified personal trainer or CHEK Practitioner to help you, if you don't know the best way to set up your exercise program to achieve your goals.

Pick a type of physical activity that you enjoy that is in line with your goals. If you like it, you will be more motivated to do it. Then add variety so you don't get bored. For example, if you enjoy walking, you can change where you walk, how fast you walk, the type of terrain you walk from flat to hills - you can even walk backwards or sideways for a change of pace!  You can kick a soccer ball as you walk.  To increase the challenge, you can wear a weighted vest or a knapsack, walk for a longer time, or increase your speed.

I personally find it helpful to record what I do, so I can see my progress. When I increase my weights, I find it motivating, as I know for a fact that I am getting stronger.

Using a personal trainer or CHEK Practitioner on a regular basis can help enormously with motivation, because if you book the appointment you WILL do your exercise, which translates into results, which keeps you motivated.  A trainer can change the program to keep it interesting and challenging for you.   And if your goals change, a trainer can rework your program to move you towards your new goal.

Related tips:
Want fat loss? Aerobic exercise alone is not the answer
Resistance Training
Heart-Rate Training
The fabulous stability ball

back to top

Copyright 2006 Vreni Gurd