Four years ago a friend gave me the book Younger Next Year for my birthday. The title grabbed me, because I am always trying to motivate myself and look a bit younger. The book stresses the importance of exercise, so I bought the audio version and started listening and walking.
The premise of the book is simple–you’re either growing/building your body or you’re rotting. Rotting is a powerful word with strong visual imagery! I didn’t want to rot. Very soon I became obsessed with this book … listening to some of the chapters over and over. The book is based on 7 principles, or “Harry’s Rules”
- Exercise 6 days a week for the rest of your life.
- Do serious aerobic exercise 4 days a week for the rest of your life.
- Do serious strength training, with weights, 2 days a week for the rest of your life.
- Spend less than you make.
- Quit eating crap!
- Take Care of yourself.
- Connect and commit.
Now I am not saying that this is the greatest book on fitness ever written and you may not like it, but it changed the way I think and act about exercise, aging and my overall health.
Walking is and is a great way to exercise but I needed to get my heart rate up so I took action and joined the Y. I started off with a Zumba dance class thinking, “great cardio” and as a bonus I would have some fun. Now here’s where the truth about exercise, at least for me begins: The music was great, but my body was hurting and my heart was pounding. I was not is shape and half way through the class I was looking at the clock as the minutes slowly ticked by. I was struggling and the next day it was easier not to go… but I went.
“You have to work through the discomfort and the negativity when you start out. It does get better!”
It’s 4 years later and I am addicted to exercise – Zumba, body pump, cardio combo, body flow, yoga, and soon cycling. So what moved me from dread to joy?
Here are some of the tricks I have learned to keep me motivated, and exercising every day.
- Think of working out as part of your career success. Look at it as part of your job and you have to show up every day. The pay is amazing but not half as good as the benefits.
- Group classes worked! I am an extrovert and the group classes worked best. I need a team around me. Hint- Make friends with the regulars who stand near or during the workout. It helps.
- Make friends with the instructors. That will keep you motivated and obligated to show up for them!!!
- Buy cool looking workout clothes and if you are lucky enough to work from a home office like me, put them on in the morning. And don’t be stingy. But several of everything so you don’t have the excuse that nothing is clean.
- Write down how you feel after every workout. It is a great way to journal your journey and you’ll motivate yourself with your own feelings and words.
- Do not look at the clock. Listen to the music, and stay in the moment. I have created a great playlist of songs I would never have heard if it weren’t for Eliot, my favorite instructor. He keeps me young and fun.
- Before you decide not to go, ask yourself, “Will I regret skipping today?” Guilt is the Killer App.
- Go for a walk, invite your dog and listen to audiobooks! You will find that you walk longer.
9. Make exercise your favorite thing to do.
10. Pat yourself on the back because you are getting stronger!