Create an enjoyable workout

Published 4:44 am Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Special to The Post-Searchlight

Physical activity is essential to a balanced lifestyle, but it can be difficult to gather the motivation to actually do it. Many people look at exercising as a chore, but it’s important to start viewing it as an accomplishment and something that makes you feel better. TOPS Club, Inc. (Take Off Pounds Sensibly), the nonprofit weight-loss support organization, offers tips to make your workout routine more enjoyable.

• Find a partner. Exercising with a friend can make a workout more enjoyable, help you push yourself, and hold you accountable. You can challenge each other, encourage one another on those days you don’t feel like exercising, and share new techniques. Working out with another person can also make it seem more like social time than work.

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• Increase time and intensity gradually. If you take on too much during your workouts, you may become burned out, lose motivation, or start to dislike exercising. Listen to your body and decide how long or hard you’ll workout depending on how you feel.

• Vary your activities. Exercise sessions can seem tedious when you’re repeating the same workout at the same place every day, so mix up your routine. Run on the treadmill. Take a Zumba class. Walk around a park. Play a sport. If you’re a runner or bike rider, change up your routes. There are endless physical activity options and ways to spice up your workouts. Try to pick activities that fit your interests, and understand your preferences so you know where you like to exercise, if you like to do it alone or with another person, and other options.

• Reward yourself. Give yourself something to look forward to after your workout — a movie night, new accessory, or other small, inexpensive treat.

• Join a club. Take part in a boot camp or fitness class to stay motivated and learn new exercises.

• Celebrate the small “victories.” Weight loss can be a slow process, and individuals often get frustrated — so celebrate the smaller feats! Perhaps you did more push-ups, walked further, or exercised after work instead of watching television. This will help you stay on track and see the progress you’ve made.

• Set a realistic goal each session. Decide what you’d like to accomplish for each workout and stick to it. Do you want to reduce your mile time by one minute? Or would you like to do 10 more crunches? Smaller goals give you something to strive for during your workout, and it’s often easier to focus on them than your overall objective. Make sure it’s something that will challenge you but isn’t impractical.

• Listen to music. Make a workout playlist on your MP3 device to help get your mind off of the task and give you a soundtrack to your activity. It can also give you a boost. According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), people who increase the beat frequency of music during a workout tend to go faster or work harder.

• Stay hydrated. Avoid dehydration and drink plenty of water before, during, and after your workout. Bring a water bottle with you to help your performance and replenish the fluids you lose through sweating.

• Dress properly. It’s important to be comfortable when you’re exercising. Make sure to choose appropriate attire for the activity and the weather, select sweat-wicking materials, use sturdy shoes, and wear protective gear, if needed. Treating yourself to some new, attractive workout clothes can also boost your enthusiasm for exercising.