If you are one of the minority of people who regularly go to a gym for exercise, then congratulations! It means you have the right priorities and terrific discipline. But it’s fair to say that at times, even for committed exercisers, motivation often flags, and there are days when it requires a Herculean effort just to put on your workout clothes and walk through the gym doors. Here are 13 ways to make your exercise routine a little easier.
Avoid the mirrors. Many fitness centres line exercise rooms with mirrors to allow you to watch your form as you work out. Yet a study of 58 women found that those who exercised in front of a mirror felt less calm and more fatigued after 30 minutes of working out than those who exercised without staring at their reflections. One exercise chain, Curves, deliberately designs its small gyms without mirrors so that women can concentrate on each other and the workout rather than on how they look. Other gyms are beginning to offer “reflection-free” zones. If yours doesn’t, mention the idea – and the study– to the gym manager.
Create your own personal gym playlists, and listen to them as you work out. Researchers have found that people who listen to up-tempo music get significantly more out of their stationary bike workouts. They pedaled faster, produced more power and their hearts beat faster than when they listened to slow-tempo music or sounds with no tempo. Overall, they worked between 5 and 15 per cent harder while listening to the energizing beat. Although the type of music you choose is up to you, pick something with a fast beat that makes you want to start dancing.
Think of someone who irritates you. Then step on the treadmill, exercise bike or elliptical machine and sweat out your aggression as you work out. You might even imagine that you are running an imaginary race against this person. You’ll get a better workout – and blast away anger and stress at the same time.