There's a saying about best—laid plans often going awry. Nowhere is this more apparent than when it comes to exercise. We want to exercise and stay in shape, but busy lives often get in the way. But JJ Virgin, a certified nutrition specialist and exercise physiologist with the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) says there are plenty of tricks you can use to keep your exercise program on track. Here are four tips that you can try on your own.
Recommit to ten minutes.
If you set a lofty exercise goal and miss one session, it's easy to get discouraged. Virgin suggests thinking about exercise in ten-minute blocks instead. "There's less of a chance of blowing off ten minutes," she says. "Go for a ten-minute walk outside or on a treadmill. Use free weights in front of the TV. Do ten minutes of a favorite exercise video, and work from there."
Bring in a professional.
Virgin suggests hiring a personal trainer once a month. The benefits are twofold. First, your fitness expert can perform a body composition test and track your results, which is especially important since weight loss doesn't always show up on a scale. She can also design a new exercise program so you can mix things up and help boost metabolism, she says. "A trainer will make sure you're exercising correctly, and provides accountability," adds Virgin. "If you know you've got to meet up with your trainer, you're going to work out more."
Count your steps.
Walking is low-impact, and can be done anywhere. Incorporate more walking into your day by purchasing a pedometer, and trying to beat your own step count, says Virgin. "You'll start parking a little further away and taking the stairs," she says. Buy a pedometer at any sporting goods store or mass merchant. Virgin suggests asking your salesperson to set it up for you so you can wear it out of the store. "Otherwise, it might float around in your car for a while," she says.
Make exercise social.
Chances are, when you make a lunch date with a friend, you follow through. Change lunch dates to gym dates, and you've got a great reason to move, says Virgin. Go for a walk at the mall or at the park. Go for a hike or bike ride. Says Virgin: "Put it on your calendar and exercise becomes a regular part of your life."