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7 Ways To Fall Off the Exercise Wagon

By Sheryl Kraft

Created: 11/10/2015
Last Updated: 11/10/2015

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We're approaching the time of year where, despite our best efforts, schedules and obligations start to crowd out common sense.

There are shorter days with less sunlight. Once 5 p.m. comes around, we take the sun's retreat to heart and feel like curling up and calling it a night.

There's Thanksgiving planning and cooking, cleaning out closets (who ever said it had to just happen in the Spring?) holiday shopping (if you like to stay ahead) and general busy-ness.

All that adds up to neglecting certain matters.

Like exercise.

Unfortunately there's a price to pay when you deep-six your exercise routine: You feel guilty, frustrated and more sluggish than ever. But something, you say, has got to give.

If you're resisting the pull to join the masses on their exercise exodus, I've made it easy for you by telling you the tried and true ways to ditch the habit. After all, why not join the other 67 percent of people with gym memberships that never use them?

1. Don't lay out clothes the night before. If you wake up and see your leggings, socks, running shoes and outfit waiting for you, you might find it too easy to get dressed and go. Get rid of all visual cues, including your gym bag and water bottle.

2. Don't make promises. Committing to a workout with a friend, signing up for a class or booking a personal trainer all makes you accountable and less likely to cancel. Dump the threat of peer pressure and remain a loner – you won't run the risk of disappointing anyone (but yourself). 

3. Tell yourself "maybe." This way you have the option to say no. Not writing it down on your calendar makes it so much easier to skip the exercise. Why commit to something you don't really want, anyway?

4. Keep your expectations unrealistic. Say: "It's 45 minutes of intense cardio five days a week - or nothing at all!"  three times in a row. Or try: "I must lift weights three days a week, or why bother?"  This way, if you're not feeling up to your usual routine, or don't live up to your hopes, you can say: "Why bother?"  Although it may be true that some exercise is better than none at all – and there are ways to fit it in – you need to have an "all or nothing" approach. Why do some – if you can do none?

5. Remain seated at all times. Just because you can use commercial time during your favorite TV show to fit in some jumping jacks, balance exercises or push-ups doesn't mean you should do it.  Better yet, aim for the shows with no commercial breaks, or fast-forward through those pesky commercials, and you won't even be tempted. And if you sit at a desk for much of the day, stay there. Taking frequent breaks to walk around, move your body and stretch will only make you feel more productive, both mentally and physically.

6. Sleep in. If you set your alarm an hour earlier and work out first thing in the morning, then you'll be sure to do it. Making sure you don't have the time – or putting it off for later – practically guarantees you'll throw in the towel instead.

7. Embrace the silence. Listening to music will only help you feel more motivated, increase your endurance and make exercise more fun – and may even distract you from the pain, fatigue and boredom that sometimes accompanies exercise.  Just because studies have shown that music helps people run further, bike longer and swim faster than usual – without even realizing it – doesn't mean that you have to listen.

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All good ideas, Sheryl. I will try the clothes one. I am trying very hard to stay on the exercise bandwagon while in school, but I don't have a trainer right now so I'm not obligated. I also can't play tennis because of tennis elbow. My sister does drag me to the gym when she can, but I just really don't want to be there...but I also don't want to lose the muscle tone I've spent four years acquiring! It's a constant battle.

Thanks, Nancy. Try it - you might be surprised! Sorry about your tennis elbow, but I'm hoping that you will eventually listen to your sister and want to be there. Think about that muscle tone...if you don't use it, you will lose it! (I'm so original, aren't I :)

It is so easy to fall off the exercise wagon. It's way easier to get out of the routine than start it again!

I am dealing with a health issue that has kept me from serious exercise for 6-months now.
This is great motivation to get serious about low-impact workouts.

I had to re-read the first suggestion several times before I realized what was happening. Very clever Sheryl! I am going to stay on track this holiday season!

Guilty of ALL of them! I'm a fanatic when it comes to kayaking and hiking, but now that the snow has hit Tahoe, I'm in my yoga pants WAY too much. And not doing yoga. Add in a little chocolate and my bed is not the only fluffy thing around here. Ugh.


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