How to Stay Motivated to Exercise
I used to get up and go to the gym every morning before work. I would work out for an hour, relax a bit in the whirlpool, shower, dress and then go to work, but knowing how to stay motivated to exercise became a struggle.
Why You Should Workout
Working out really helped me get through the days, particularly the stressful ones when running an ad agency seemed like the worst idea I had ever come up with.
Once I retired, my gym routine did also. I let my gym membership lapse. Once I finally did get out of bed, I really did not feel like going to the gym. After about a year of that routine, I realized that not working out was having a disastrous effect on my body, my weight, endurance and health.
I was pretty sure I did not want to rejoin a gym. I really did not know what I wanted to do, but I knew I had to do something.
It was about that time that my older daughter called and asked if I wanted to join her and my younger daughter in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. It is a two day, 39 mile walk through the city. I was not about to say no. I figured if they could do it, so could I, and we had been raising money for a wonderful cause close to our hearts.
I started training for the October event in May. It did not take me long to realize that I loved walking. To me, there is something very peaceful, yet energizing, about walking. I started out walking a mile, then two, then five, 10 and so on. I pretty much followed the training guidelines Avon gives you when you sign up, but incorporated some of my own ideas.
I had put on my headphones and head out the door. I think I probably went through at least 20 audiobooks that summer while I walked. I also learned a ton of new songs!
Benefits of Walking
I walked with a fanny pack that had my ID and some money. Of course, I had water with me at all times. If I ran out of water, I had to just stop at a gas station or store and buy some more. That went for when I was hungry also.
I usually had a route in mind of where I wanted to head that day. Sometimes I would walk to the grocery store, or to some neighborhood shops, pick up a few things and ask them to hold whatever I bought for me until I came back in my car and picked them up.
Other times, I had to meet friends for lunch. Some days, I would walk to the mall (about 10 miles each way), eat lunch, watch a movie and head back home. After about three weeks of walking, I found my clothes were fitting a lot better, which encouraged me to keep going. More importantly, I felt a whole lot better.
Finding the Motivation
I knew walking for exercise was working wonders for me, but I had no idea what all of the benefits of such a simple activity are. It helps reduce the risk of heart disease, dangerous blood pressure levels, blood sugar levels and body weight. Who knew such a simple thing as walking could have such a dramatic impact on one’s health?
After the cancer walk was over I knew I wanted to continue walking and maybe even try a 5km walk and run at some point.
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Exercising in Different Seasons
Since winter was coming, I had to find a place to walk indoors when it was too cold to walk outdoors. The best place I have found so far is the mall. I was able to keep up my walking routine, although I have to admit, mall walking is not quite as adventurous and I do not walk as far.
I found out that there are a lot of good reasons to walk in the mall. They open early for walkers and I can window shop without being tempted to buy since the stores are not open. It is also out of the elements, there is security, there are plenty of restrooms and water fountains. The drawback is that after about an hour or so, I am pretty tired of seeing the same scenery over and over.
Add Light Weights
Last winter, I decided that just walking was not doing it for me, so I bought a few free weights. Once I started working out three days a week with the weights and continued my walking routine, I found I started gaining upper and lower body strength.
Exercises Without a Gym Membership
I have found a lot of great resources on the internet for free that do not require belonging to a gym. Here are some of the ones I have tried out:
- Weight Training for Seniors
- Senior Exercise Central
I have downloaded a few of the apps onto my phone so I have them whenever and wherever I want.
Join Workout Programs
This winter, I decided it would be fun to try something new. I heard about a program called Silver Sneakers. It is a free benefit fitness program for seniors offered by more than 65 major health care plans across the U.S.
Part of the Silver Sneakers program gives their members access to area gyms for free. Some of the gyms offer workout classes designed for seniors. The particular gym I go to offers classes four days a week in strength, flexibility, balance and endurance. I have thoroughly enjoyed it, have met lots of great, new people, it meets at a reasonable hour and virtually everyone is as old as I am. That said, I still prefer to head outside and walk to my heart’s content. This year I am going to train for a 15km walk/run.
Knowing how to Stay Motivated to Exercise
I believe people have to find the exercise(s) that work for them and will keep them motivated over the long haul. I also believe that moving keeps me looking and feeling younger than my chronological age and I intend to keep it that way.
Hope you will join me.