One of the most important (and unfortunately difficult) things about an effective workout routine is consistency.
A daily exercise routine goes a long way in terms of physical and mental health. Not to mention reduced medical bills that seem to grow as the years wear on.
Here are 7 insights that I found very helpful in creating a regular exercise routine that I successfully integrated into my lifestyle–one that I’ve been able to stick to.
1) Get a pedometer to measure the number of steps you take in a day
You can pick up a pedometer on eBay for a couple of bucks and it’ll do the job. The average person takes about 4000 steps in their daily routine, which is half the battle.
I set myself an achievable goal of 10000 steps each day back in February and have had no trouble hitting the target each day since. This incremental 6000 steps each day helped me drop about 3 kgs within the first 2 months, which was not too bad.
Consistently hitting the 10K target created a certain sense of efficacy which has been very motivating
If your pedometer can measure stairs climbed – even better. My fitbit has completely changed my behavior for choosing the stairs over the elevators/lifts.
A couple of weeks ago fitbit sent me an email saying I had climbed enough stairs to receive a helicopter badge which left me feeling pretty chuffed. A bit like a toddler would feel when she gets a stamp for being a good girl in daycare. It may sound infantilizing but it works!
Fitbit’s ongoing congratulatory messages are always a pleasant surprise and give me the dopamine hit to keep me going till the next badge.
The fitbit will set you back over a hundred bucks but it’s proved to be well worth the investment for me.
There are a few different versions of the Fitbit available.
Each of these is available in different colors.
2) Graphical representations of my exercise patterns have a magical impact on my motivation and consistency
The fitbit interfaces with a free iPhone app that produces
Graphs at the click of a button. To me, this is just eye candy. It motivates me.
To get back out there and keep that trend moving upwards. There’s something poetic about it… almost like I’m ‘painting a picture.
Also, I find the graph motivates me either way. When the trend on the graph moves upwards I feel motivated to beat my prior months' achievements. Downward trends have me itching to get out there.
and pound the pavement to get that trend moving back up.
It gamifies the routine which is the best thing that’s happened
to me in terms of the consistency
3) Hit the daily walking target every day – and don’t break the chain!
This is absolutely key. It’s critical to have a daily goal that you can stick to. Once you’ve done this for a few days, just make sure you don’t break the chain!
The longer the chain gets the more you have to lose and the less likely you are to break the chain. For more insight on this check out my blog on the streaks app and Jerry
My 10K steps a day is sacrosanct. I haven’t missed a day of 10K steps since February and I ain’t breaking that chain soon. I have too much to lose!
4) Mindfulness while weight training during gym workouts
At the gym, focusing on my bodily sensations during a weight training session is extremely effective in getting me out of my head after a busy and stressful day.
I leaves me pretty blissed out and in a certain meditative state. Maybe it’s an endorphin addiction … but I’m happy to roll with that.
Mindfulness during weight training also has the dual effect of helping me focus on maintaining excellent form while doing my reps and ensures that I train my muscles rather than strain my joints. It’s a win-win.
Check out my earlier blog post to get some more insight into mindfulness
5) Use the cool downtime on the treadmill to plan a
Planning meals is key to maintaining a healthy diet. I reach for fast food solutions when I’m ravenous and there are no other imminent food options.
I find that checking out food ideas on YouTube while cooling down on the treadmill as I approach the end of my workout works nicely.
It gets me focused on a healthy food solution (like stir fries) which makes it easy to lock into a clear plan of action. No more burgers and chips sabotaging my earnest efforts in the gym!
6) Stretching post-workout is ‘body candy’
Despite having had a workout routine in place for the best part of 25 years, it was only recently that I discovered the delights of stretching post-workout. i find it really rounds things off nicely after rigorous exercise.
Pilates is also an excellent alternative for a good ‘cool down.
The feeling of accomplishment and well-being that stretching delivers is quite tangible and a workout just isn’t complete without it.
After all… muscles need to breathe too… right?
7) Check to see if your gym offers Wi-Fi and has a 24-hour option before signing up
Checking out whether your gym offers Wi-Fi is important as it creates a whole raft of content alternatives to what’s stored on the old iPhone or iPad.
I use the gym Wi-Fi to watch educational videos while on the treadmill. This means I can rack up CPD points that I have to earn each year as part of my continued professional development (CPD) requirements.
Racking up the CPD points while (literally) on the run invariably leaves me with a cheeky sense of one-upmanship when I look at the clock afterward – the novelty of which will never wear off!
Having access to a 24-hour gym with good security cameras that gives you the option to train day or night doesn’t hurt. These 24-hour gyms with Wi-Fi are popping up everywhere and shouldn’t be too hard to find.
A 24-hour gym gives you the option of squeezing in a cheeky run on the treadmill before you get home to put the kids to bed. This can be invaluable in establishing and maintaining continuity so that you don’t break the chain.
What tools do you use to keep you motivated and engaged with your exercise routine?
Do share your ideas and comments at the end of this post. I’d love to hear what you have to say.
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