Summer is nearly over, but that doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself of physical activity for the next year. Here are ideas to help keep you moving.
1. Set long-range goals. Perhaps you want to get in shape for a winter ski trip. Don’t wait until the last minute! Good strengthening exercises for skiing muscles include lunges, knee extensions, the leg press, as well as stair climbing and hill running, says Steve Farrell, Ph.D., an exercise physiologist at The Cooper Institute.
2. Say goodbye to an “all or nothing” mentality. If you don’t have time to walk for a half-hour, shoot for 15 minutes. Perhaps later in the day you can work in another 15. Don’t punish yourself for cutting a workout in half or skipping a couple of days at the gym. If you have been sick or on a tiring business trip, you may legitimately need rest!
3. Make a list of new activities. Is there a new sport you would like to try? How about a new class, such as karate, ballroom dancing or kick-boxing? Adding new lifestyle activities such as raking leaves or shoveling snow can also give your fall/winter workouts a big boost.
4. Reward yourself. After sticking with your program for a month, treat yourself. Ideas: a new rake if you enjoy gardening; top-quality sports socks that you normally wouldn’t buy; a massage to help you relax; a new cassette or CD to listen to when you walk or run. The possibilities are endless!
5. Find a buddy. If you have someone who is waiting on you at the gym or around the block, you are more likely to keep your appointment. Hooking up with a friend often makes the time pass quickly; and if you challenge each other to go to the next level—whether it’s adding five pushups or walking an additional ½ mile—you’ll improve your performance.
6. Track your improvements. Keep a weekly log or diary of your exercise routine. Sometimes going back and seeing improvements in black and white can inspire you to work a little harder—and to stick with the program.