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Prepare Yourself for Summer

Spring is in the air. Finally! After a long and cold winter, the snow is melting and joggers are showing themselves on the ice-free pavement. Isn’t it great that soon the weather will be warm enough to wear something other than long sweaters and track pants? But wait, after a winter hibernation period all those hot chocolates and mashed potato dinners will have added an extra layer that does not fit into those summer shorts.

The golden rule to losing weight is eating healthy and regular exercise. Eating healthy is easy, substitute rice or potatoes for a salad and away you go. But working out is a whole different story; running endlessly on a treadmill is not my cup of tea. Lucky for me, exercise does not have to be boring or mindless. There are a thousand-and-one ways to exercise, so there will be something enjoyable for everyone. The strategies outlined below can help you find your inner-exercise motivation.

Make it Playful

When we think of playing, we think of children. But did you know that adults need time to play too? Before the invention of the radio and the television, adults would play as well. Not necessarily the same games as children, but fun activities to pass the time. In his book “Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul”, author Stuart Brown describes why play is such a trivial part of adult human nature. He explains “It is a biological drive as integral to our health as sleep or nutrition. We are designed by nature to flourish through play”. Instead of going for a hike because the unpolluted air will do you good, go for a hike because it is fun. Don’t just mindlessly swim 50 laps in the swimming pool, make it playful and add some dolphin kicks.

Make it Mindful

A personal trainer keeps you focused on the exercise and makes you work harder. Unfortunately not everyone is lucky enough to work with a personal trainer. Researchers at the University of Utrecht did a study with 400 participants looking at mindfulness and physical activity. They found that being in the moment did seem to make physical activities, such as exercise routines, more satisfying.

How can you be “in the moment” while exercising? By being aware of your body, how you move, and what the surroundings look like. For example, noticing that your heart rate is up, sweat trickling down your back, or what noise your shoes make on the pavement. By putting your awareness on your body, you will not have time to focus on negative thoughts (“i.e. Do I look funny doing this exercise?” or “My heart is going too fast, I’m having a heart attack”) and time will fly by while you enjoy the exercise.

Take Your Workout Outside

Nothing is more enjoyable than drinking your morning coffee outside in your lounging chair, or having a drink with friends on the restaurant patio. The same principle goes for exercise. Are you tired of doing the same workout routine in the gym? Why not do it outside. More and more parks have an “outdoor gym”, small workout stations you can use freely. Are you someone who uses exercise videos at home? Why not drag your tv outside and workout in the sun.

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