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But I Don’t Want To! Ways to Motivate You and Your Family to Exercise

Posted Oct 26 2012 10:02pm

“Skate” by Peter Griffin

It always starts out with the greatest of intentions.  This year, this month, even this day, you and your family are going to get and be healthier.  For what seems like a good while, things are running smoothly.  Everyone is outside, walking where and when they can, and taking the time out of their busy and demanding schedules to get their heart rate up just a little bit each day.

And then the “I don’t want tos” happen.   It can sneak in and whisper in your ear as you snuggle under the warm down blanket.  It can distract you as you sit down to watch your favorite sitcom on television.  It can even hurriedly whisper, “but you don’t have time today,” as you frantically get your kids ready for school.

There are a thousand and one excuses that a person can come up with to put aside getting some exercise.  However, there is only one reason why you and your family should strive to not listen to those excuses- your health.

So what do you do?  How can you and your family win over that little voice in the back of your heads telling you that getting physical exercise just isn’t all that important? How can you make sure that you and your family stay active and healthy, even in the colder months?   Here are a few tips.

Tip # 1:  Remember that Any Physical Activity is Good

One of the false ideas that most people get stuck in their heads is that exercise must be a set time and routine.  Health professionals indicate that it is beneficial to get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day, three times a week.  They don’t specify when and how you get those minutes of exercise.  It is perfectly acceptable to do a ten minute brisk walk one day, play tag with your kids for 15 minutes the next day, chase after your two year old for three minutes the next day, and walk up the three flights of stairs to your office just before the weekend comes.  The important thing is to keep moving.  Every little bit of physical activity can add up to big health benefits.

Tip # 2:  Keep a Photograph Album or Journal

Perhaps one of the most problematic reasons why people fizzle out in their exercise program is because they think that they are not making any progress towards their goal.  I remember when I first started exercising- I was 315 pounds, and was constantly accused of being pregnant with triplets.  I worked out, dieted, and tried everything I could fathom to lose weight.  However, every single morning when I looked in the mirror all I saw was a fat ugly girl standing back at me. 

Then a friend suggested that I take some pictures and measurements of my body during the whole process.  At first I was hesitant, but with her help- (taking a good photo of you isn’t that easy) – I managed to create a “health album” which consisted of my weight, photographs, and blood pressure measurements, and how many times I had to take medicine for aches and pains.  What I found was that although I couldn’t see the changes in my body on a daily basis, I could look over the changes and progress that I had made and get the motivation that I needed to go that much further.

Today, I am nearly 100 pounds lighter, I have a percentage body fat of around 30%, and. I can run up a flight of stairs without wheezing.  I still not at my goal, but I know I’m on the right track.

Tip # 3:  Remember that Breaks Area Allowed

This might sound a bit strange, but sometimes the best way to motivate is to take a break and let your body heal.  Each time you exercise, if you are doing it correctly, your muscles and your body are being tested and changed to meet the growing demands of your life.  When these changes occur, the body does need some time to adjust and heal.  So listen to your body the next time you hear that little voice saying “I don’t want to” Is there a reason why?  Are your muscles tired, or perhaps sore from that late season softball game yesterday?  If so, consider taking a break.  That way, when the opportunity comes around to exercise again, you’ll be rested and ready to go.

About Laura Seeber ( 9 Posts )

Laura Seeber is a geologist, environmental professional, writer, and outdoor and nature enthusiast. Born just outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Laura has spent the majority of her life hiking through the forest, descending into caves, climbing over boulders and up cliffs, navigating river rapids, and writing and blogging about her adventures. She currently resides in Illinois and travels country in search of the next great outdoor activity or adventure.


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