Need Motivation? These Suggestions Can Help

It’s a brand new year and there is an upsurge in participants at the local gym. New Year’s Resolutions are the reason and that increase inevitably declines over the weeks that follow. By the end of February, the roster of regulars is usually right back to the usual number.

There can be many reasons why people stop exercising. Here are some suggestions that might help maintain that motivation you need:

Set Goals

Yes, this is the most rudimentary thing you can do, but it remains one of the most effective. Of course, it is important for those goals to be realistic. If you are 50, planning to regain the physique you enjoyed at 20 is not very likely. This can cause you to stop exercising altogether and lose the benefits that could improve your quality of life or help you live longer. Think small, attain those goals, and then gradually create more challenging ones.

Keep Yourself Entertained

In addition to the physical pain that often comes from exercise, people often explain that they simply find working out to be boring. The easy solution is music as there are many different mp3 players that make this entirely possible; heck, you even listen to music while swimming.

Gym owners understand the importance of distraction as well, offering banks of TV monitors as well as plug-in stations for portable music devices. Music also helps to attain and maintain a rhythm, so give it a try. Just don’t pick something too middle of the road.

The Buddy System

Another way to keep exercise fun and interesting is to do it with a friend or series of friends. Setting a time and making a commitment also provide excellent motivation, thanks to the gentle peer pressure. You can encourage each other and also celebrate whenever one of you attains a goal.

Are You Exercising Too Much?

Exercise is a wonderful thing for both mind and body. However, like most things in life, you can overdo it and actually create problems. Do you find you are spending more and more time at the gym or exercising at home? Is the amount of exercise going up without a corresponding increase in the benefits? Are you actually experiencing problems because of the degree of exercising you’re doing?

Here are some signs that you may be exercising too much:

Constant Pain

“No pain, no gain” is a familiar refrain when it comes to exercising and most us experience some during and after a good workout. However, if you are in exercise-induced pain for most of the day and it is keeping you awake at night, this is not healthy. This state can also leave you feeling irritable, even during times when anger is not called for.

Blood Pressure Issues

One of the reasons people exercise is to help lower their blood pressure. However, over exercising can actually cause your blood pressure to become too high, leading to health complications even in young and otherwise well people.

You’re Not Seeing Any Results

Many people give up on dieting because they reach a point where the pounds are not coming off like they used to. The same can be true with exercising; you can reach a plateau and not demonstrate the same level of improvement that was previously easy to attain. This can lead to a loss of motivation to exercise. Both are indicators that you need to slow down and even take some time off.

Fatigue and Low Energy

Are you no longer getting the post workout charge you previously enjoyed and are now actually feeling listless and easily fatigued? These are good indicators that you should take a holiday from exercising for a bit.

 

Exercise and Mental Health

The physical benefits of exercise are indisputable. No matter what your age, you need to get up and moving in order to ensure maintenance of current health and prevention of disease in later years. However, exercise is also a very valuable tool when it comes to helping people battling mental health issues.

As someone who frequents their local gym regularly, you are no doubt already aware of the power of endorphins. Those “feel-good” chemicals that give you that natural high after your workout are one of the things that encourage you to keep going. That is also true for people with issues like anxiety and depression. The endorphins improve their mood, which acts as a supplement to any talk or drug therapy they are receiving.

Exercise also acts as a form of connection. Think about all the friends and mentors you have met over the years at the gym, people that you probably would not have encountered otherwise. Many people with mental health problems tend to isolate themselves due to reasons of shame and fear. That severely limits the possibilities they have for meeting new people and even maintaining old friendships. Even if they do not join a gym, exercise is a way to encourage them to leave their homes and do things. That leads to the mental benefits and also opens up the possibility of spending time with other people and gaining the cathartic effects one gets from such encounters.

Regular physical activity can also have other benefits for people in this category. Exercise is more likely to result in a person having a good night’s sleep. A lot of people with depression and anxiety often suffer from uneven sleep or even outright insomnia.

Individuals suffering from anxiety tend to also have considerable muscle tension, which can lead to headaches and physical pain. Exercise helps to loosen and relax muscles which in turn reduces such symptoms and leads to less anxiety.

Etiquette at the Gym

By all means, feel the burn at the gym, but don’t intimidate others.

For you to really get the maximum benefits from a gym membership, you need to feel very comfortable wherever you decide to work out. If the gym is intimidating or otherwise off-putting, you will be far less inclined to spend time there, thus defeating the whole purpose of having a membership.

Here is some basic gym etiquette to remember; observe these at all times to ensure that everyone has the best experience they can:

Observe the Rules

Every facility has its own set of posted rules members are expected to follow. Make sure you read and understand them.

Be Polite

Treat others as you would wish to be treated and don’t be intimidating. People who are self-conscious about how they look probably already feel uncomfortable around those who are fit; be nice and offer to help them whenever possible.

Wipe Down the Equipment When Finished

When you finish with a machine, use whatever sanitary solution the gym supplies to wipe off the equipment. Many people may use a piece of equipment over the course of a day and that can mean a whole lot of germs; don’t contribute to the bacteria pool by leaving yours behind.

Make Sure Someone Else is Not Using the Equipment

Someone using a machine may have gotten up to ask a question or get something they need; that doesn’t mean they have finished. If it’s not clear, ask whether anyone is using a machine before you sit down and get started.

Give People Enough Space

The gym can get very crowded during peak times, but do your best not to crowd your fellow member. Make sure everyone has ample space to perform their activity. This will ensure member comfort and help to prevent injuries.

Exercises for Kids

At the risk of sounding even older than I am, I remember the days when kids spent a lot more time outdoors. It was just customary to run and play with friends after school and on the weekend. If we spent too much time watching the 12 TV channels available, our parents would evict us from the house with the order, “Go outside and play!”

Of course, entertainment options have expanded dramatically in the decades since then. Between the thousand channel universe, computers, smartphones, and video games, kids now have more reasons than ever to be inert. That is taking a toll on their health as childhood obesity levels are approaching crisis levels.

If you are concerned that your child is not getting enough physical activity, here are some simple, but effective exercises that you can do together:

Push-Ups

One of the most traditional exercises is also good for kids, though don’t necessarily worry if they cannot keep from bending their knees: the benefits are still there.

Sit-Ups

Another oldie, but goodie, sit-ups help to strengthen core muscles. At this age, it is not necessary for the child to curl all of the way up to their knees.

Planking

This is another basic exercise that helps to increase both arm and core strength. Children may find this tough at first, but as their strength increases, their endurance will also go up.

Aerobic Exercises

I don’t mean aerobics in the 20 Minute Workout sense, but sports you and the kids can easily enjoy at home or in the park. These include basketball, tennis, soccer, running and jogging, and bicycling.

Chair Squats

These are great for increasing leg strength and require no special equipment whatsoever; just grab a chair from the kitchen or living room. Once kids get good at this, you can increase the challenge by having them hold a pair of weights in their hands.

 

Exercise for Seniors

Exercise is a benefit for anyone of any age, but the type and duration can vary, depending upon that person’s period of life, abilities, and goals. Many people don’t realize that seniors should also exercise regularly, but it can be more of a challenge for them. due to the physical limitations brought about by age.

Fortunately, most of those obstacles can be avoided simply by choosing the correct activity. Here are some low-impact exercises well-suited to those in their golden years:

Walking

The most basic exercise around, walking requires no special equipment, no gym time (as long as the sidewalks are clear and the weather is OK), and no advance planning.

Make sure that you have a comfortable pair of running or walking shoes well-suited to your feet, and be sure to do some stretching beforehand. Start with a short duration and gradually work your way up.

Swimming

Hitting the pool can be beneficial for seniors because swimming is very low-impact, but so good for your joints. It also helps to improve flexibility and endurance.

Ride a Bike

Getting on a bicycle is great for both getting you outside and enhancing joint health. If the weather is bad or you are intimidated by traffic, a stationary exercise bike is just as effective.

Lifting Weights

The goal here is not to become ripped, but to increase your strength and benefit your overall health. Start with small weights and gradually up the amount and the time you spend with them.

Yoga

Don’t worry: you don’t have to be super flexible to do yoga. Even only slight amounts of bending will help with strength, endurance, and balance.

Tai Chi

Here is another low-impact pursuit that is excellent for balance, flexibility, and strength. There are over 100 moves to perform in tai chi, but don’t worry if you can’t remember them: just copy what everyone else is doing! They won’t mind.