My friend Lucy claims that no matter what she does, she can’t get herself to exercise. She tried joining a gym….and after paying her membership, never made it through the front door again. Lucy bought new walking shoes and set a goal of walking three times a week. The shoes have stayed as pristine and clean as the day that she bought them, because Lucy never seems to find the time or energy to start that walking program. And about that exercise bike that her husband bought her for Christmas? It’s great as a clothes rack, but not as a motivational tool.
In contrast, I can set my watch by my neighbor Katie’s exercise schedule: every morning at 7 am, regardless of the weather, she exits her house on the run for her 3-mile jog. “What’s your secret to motivating yourself?” I once asked Katie enviously as she returned home, glowing with endorphins.
She shrugged casually. “It’s automatic – I just get up and go,” she said calmly. When Katie sprained her ankle, though, she found herself stranded. With only one form of exercise established for herself, Katie began to eat out of boredom — and ended up with ten extra pounds that she’s had trouble losing.
As for me, I’m somewhere between the two of them. I lack the get-up-and-go self-motivation of my neighbor. However, I’m aware enough of the importance of an exercise to force myself to get out and walk. It’s just never long enough or frequent enough to do much good.
How Knowing Your Exercise “Type” Can Make a Difference
Just as knowing your blood type can save valuable time in an emergency, knowing your exercise type can save you time and frustration in achieving your fitness goals.
If you’re like Lucy, you need a motivational push to get you going. Partnering up with a buddy can make all the difference: the key for you is to be willing to ask for help. When Lucy finally admitted to her husband that she couldn’t seem to get going on her own, she asked him if he’d start an early morning walking program with her. The result has been a win-win for both of them: they have each lost weight, developed more energy, and even set a new goal: doing a walk/run event for a local charity every year!
If you’re set in a routine such as Katie’s, you may think that you don’t need to change. But if something causes you to have to stop that routine, you may find yourself just as “stuck” as Lucy was before she asked for help. Variety is the key to a healthy fitness program. So if you’re a runner, learn to alternate with a different form of exercise, such as swimming. That way, if something happens, you can continue receiving the benefits of regular exercise.
And in my case, I needed a plan of action to keep me consistently exercising. Because I love to dance, I decided to sign up for a dance class and also get a variety of dance fitness DVDs in the house. I then put up a chart showing that I planned to exercise four days a week, noting which days would be my dance class days and which days would be my at-home dance DVDs occasions. And I motivated myself by establishing that for each month I completed all my goal dates, I would have a massage (bliss!). I’ve been doing Jazzercise for my dance classes, and mixing it up with my dance DVDs. For example, I have a Zumba fitness dance DVD that gets me rockin’ and rollin’ in the privacy of my home one day a week…and I alternate it with belly dance another day and hula on the third day. And now, if you’ll excuse me….it’s time to practice my Samba!