by Dr. Hilary Booth
It’s nearly the end of January (already!), and now is the time when New Year’s resolutions start to get off track. Exercise and fitness goals can be difficult to maintain as the winter drags on, but I find the best way to stay motivated is to switch up your routine. Here are my top tips for how to shake things up and keep things interesting as you exercise.
Try Something New
Exercised doesn’t need to be boring, repetitive or monotonous! When you start to get tired of your workout routine, it’s time to try something new. This might mean going to a spin or yoga class (lots of $40 for 30 days of unlimited classes offers are available), or taking the time to learn how to use different machines at the gym. Try switching from the treadmill to the rowing machine, or from free weights to resistance training. You’ll be amazed at the renewed excitement that comes with little changes to your routine.
Download an App
There are tons of amazing workout apps available, and many of them are free. I find that having an app is kind of like having your own free, pocket-sized personal trainer! Apps like the Nike Training Club give you prompts for circuit training exercises and can be set to different levels of intensity. Many apps can be used at home, without the need for any gym equipment. They’re also great because many apps can track your progress over time.
Find a Friend
As the winter wears on and going to the gym becomes more daunting, it might be a good time to adopt the buddy system. Find a friend who can hold you accountable and make a gym or fitness schedule together. We’re more likely to follow through with our workout plans if we know that a friend is counting on us. It also might not hurt to add a social aspect to the gym, too.
Change your Tune
This tip is simple but effective! Get some new music to listen to while you exercise. Maybe even experiment with switching music genres all together. Often times we get stuck listening to the same “Workout Jams” mix from years ago, but it’s totally worth your time to create a few new mixes to choose from. Apps like 8tracks, Songza, and Spotify are great for finding new music to pump you up or chill you out. Feeling extra wild? Download an audio book or a podcast to entertain your brain while you’re at the gym.
Exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, but it doesn’t always have to mean that we’re stuck going to the gym. It can be tough to find non-gym workouts when the weather is bitterly cold, but here are some ideas: tobogganing, swimming, yoga, sex, spin class, skiing, racquetball, squash, ice-skating, stair climbing, and dance lessons. There are loads of indoor drop-in classes and fun outdoor winter activities that you can try. As long as you’re getting your heart rate up, the possibilities are endless!
My final tip is to stay positive. Look at how far you’ve come on your journey toward better health. Congratulate yourself for achieving your goals to date. Always focus on what you did achieve, rather than dwelling on what you missed. When we have a positive attitude about anything in life, the activity is more enjoyable, and we’re more likely to keep doing it.
Keep up the great work, keep challenging yourself, and stay safe. Maintaining a healthy active lifestyle takes work, but feeling great is always worth the effort!