My clients and friends often ask me how they can stay motivated to exercise regularly at home. Let’s face it, walking or running on a treadmill, using an elliptical or cross-trainer, or riding a stationary bike can be just plain boring!
Boring or not, aerobic activities like these are a great way to improve your cardio fitness, which is crucial to your overall health. In the winter time, especially, it is hard to get this level of fitness any other way, unless you have access to an indoor pool, cross-country ski trails close by, or are lucky enough to be living in warmer climes!
If you don’t belong to a gym or fitness facility, I highly recommend finding a piece of cardio equipment that you can afford and fit into your home. Remember, your best buys are now! Most fitness equipment stores and other retailers are offering deep discounts on new and used equipment.
But once you acquire a treadmill, elliptical trainer, rowing machine, or some other piece of cardio equipment, how do you spend the 20 or 30 minutes per day of moderate intensity required to stay fit without getting bored, giving up, and then using that piece of equipment as an expensive coat hanger?
While some of my clients get through their workouts just by listening to music, I have found (both professionally and personally) that putting a television in front of the cardio equipment can be a highly effective motivator. But what I have found most effective has been watching not just a TV show but 20-30 minutes of a movie — preferably one that keeps you riveted. So, if you can fit a VCR or DVD player on that same shelf beside your TV, put on a movie, and work out for a pre-determined time period. But here’s the clincher: decide how long you will work out before you get on your machine. When that time period has passed, get off the machine, whether or not you are at a “good spot” in the movie. Stopping the tape or DVD when the action is heated or the plot is thick will ensure that you get back on the machine the next day to pick up where you left off.
For instance, I recently watched a suspense movie with a running time of about 100 minutes. For 4 days in a row, I watched the movie, without any skipped days for exactly 25 minutes each day (OK, one day I just COULDN’T stop the movie until 30 minutes, honest I couldn’t!). And my other piece of advice to ensure your success at sticking with your exercise program is to make sure you ONLY watch that show while you are doing your cardio routine. No popping the tape out and watching more later while sitting on the couch! Make the commitment that the movie you pick is for your cardio routine only. If you’re like me, you won’t want to miss any of the action so you won’t miss a day of exercise.
Good luck and happy watching… I mean exercising!
To your health,