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How to reset your exercise mindset

Sarah Megginson is a freelance writer, journalist and editor. She currently edits Ultimate, Australia's highest-circulating entertainment magazine available nationally through Sanity stores and writes for magazines including Cosmopolitan...

Make exercise a healthy habit

Can't seem to fit exercise in? Then you may be going about it all wrong. Bob Greene, Oprah's personal trainer, says that exercise should be treated not as something you fit in, but as something you do for your own good -- like brushing your teeth. Ready to reset your exercise mindset?

Happy woman exercising

Happy new you

 

Change your exercise perspective

It's no secret that exercise is an intrinsic part of a healthy lifestyle. But when women approach it as a burden that they need to fit into their day, it becomes a chore and seldom gets accomplished. However, exercise should never be a chore. In fact, it should -- and can -- be an ingrained habit. "Change your view closer to something that you do for the benefit of yourself. Changing your view is enormously important … so you are not constantly fighting it," Greene told SheKnows.

Take responsibility for your health and fitness

Danielle Taylor, 22, says that once she made the decision to make exercise a life priority, it came easily. "I was just ready to become healthy. I forgot how easy it was to make it part of my daily routine. I realized that I couldn't stay healthy without exercising, mentally and physically. Exercise is more of a therapeutic thing for me," she says.

"I feel like it's my responsibility to exercise because, knowing my body, if I didn't, I would be overweight and unhealthy. No one else can take responsibility for that other than myself." Are you ready to take responsibility for yourself?

3 steps to reset your exercise mindset

1Step 1: Start slowly

Getting into a healthy lifestyle involves making changes to both eating habits and exercise habits. No matter what stage of life you are in: married or unmarried, mother or not, this can be done. But don't try to be the picture of perfect health habits all at once. Making long term changes takes time.

"Don't wake up Monday and make all the changes," warns Greene. "You don't have to change everything at once … Make small adjustments and the key is balance."

That's what Jamie M, 31, did when her eating habits caught up with her a few years ago. She knew it was time for a change. She explains, "I began slowly -- training two times per week -- thinking that would do the job, but I realized if I wanted to really change my body and my life, two hours per week wasn't going to do it."

With the help of her trainer, Lauren Goldberg (aka L Boogie) at Peak Performance, Jamie began to exercise more. "[Lauren] said I commit to everything else, and why not this? Once she said that, it was on -- I made sure to integrate fitness into my life, 20 minutes [or more per] day whenever I could, plus my sessions with her two times per week," adds Jamie. 

2Step 2: Achieve balance

Transforming your lifestyle into a healthy one isn't just about the exercise: it's about making full life changes. For instance, if all you do is start exercising more, you aren't going to see the results that you want to -- and that can be demotivating. If you only eat healthier, the results won't be there either. "The whole key to making changes is balance," says Greene. It's important that when you are resetting your exercise mindset, that you also change your eating habits so that you remain in balance.

Another important aspect of the lifestyle change is to make it something that jives with your specific lifestyle. For mom of two Erica Spoor, 37, that meant joining a kid-friendly YMCA and finding ways to exercise that her kids could enjoy, too. "Once my general fitness level was back up, I started training for small, local duathalons and runs to set goals for myself. Biking is great because it allows me to be active with my kids, which they also enjoy," says Spoor. "We also use the Wii Fit as a family but it's not really strenuous enough to be part of my regular routine ... I think it's a great way to add extra exercise or for those just starting out though."

3Step 3: Adjust with age

Everything changes as you age: you need less sleep, your metabolism slows down and your body chemistry shifts. "All of us have changes in our metabolism as we age," says Greene.

Avid exerciser Lori Reader, 48, says that getting older has made her even more passionate about being fit. "I guess as I am getting older ... my weight is something I can control as the aging process begins," says Reader, who also watches what she eats.

As your body changes, so should your exercise regime. Greene suggests adding in more strength training to combat the metabolism slowdown. "Strength training [is] ... better than we thought for metabolism," says Greene.

Perception is reality, and the best way to adopt a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise and a healthy diet is to change your perspective and see it as something you do for yourself . Get advice on dropping bad habits and starting good new habits here.

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