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Better Health Can Be Found In The Routine

Yesterday, as I was leaving the gym I ran into the daughter of a friend. My friend is a gym rat. I told the daughter how great she looked and how I noticed she worked out hard. (As we were talking sweat was pouring off of her.) I told her that her mom had set quite an example by teaching her the importance of being physically fit from such a young age. I shared that the work the daughter was doing now would pay big dividends later as she aged.

Physicians now routinely recommend exercising thirty minutes a day, five times per week. I try to make sure I get at least three workouts in per week. My hope is that by exercising on a consistent basis I am following what physicians suggest is a method to manage high blood pressure, along with making better nutritional choices and limiting my salt intake. I keep a calendar of my completed workouts that note the date I worked out, the duration of my workout and the specific activity (i.e., yoga, swimming, walking, working with weights, etc.). I have been doing this for years. I may not be a "fashionista" but I own quite a bit of work out attire and equipment.

Even though I am consistent with my exercise regimen, there are definitely days when I just do not want to go. I know it’s good for me, I know I will feel better after I do it and I know it’s needed for my health. I know all that and…I still do not want to go. I think up all kinds of reasons why I don't have to go. The following are my usual round of excuses: I can go later in the week. Missing one workout is no big deal. I'm getting older so I can work out less. I need to cut myself a break, practice "self-care" and just stay in. I'm not losing any weight anyway. I still have to take a pill to control my blood pressure, so what's the point?

And then I remember: The scale doesn't lie and neither does my exercise calendar.

On those days that I struggle to make myself go, I make a deal with myself. I tell myself that I don’t have to work out if I don’t want to, but I must (at the very least) get dressed to work out. Before I dress, I give myself permission not to work out. I tell myself that if I don’t want to work out, I don’t have to. Invariably, after I get dressed, I jump in the car and start heading to the gym. Once I am there, I am motivated to work out. This has happened to me so much that I think there may be a message here. The following tips gleaned from my experience may be helpful to you:

· Develop a healthy routine and hold yourself accountable.

· Just bite the apple. Break the task down into smaller parts so that it is not overwhelming.

· Remember the “why.” The value of the act or goal must outweigh the correlating cost. (I am not talking about money. I am talking about the cost to you in time, effort, convenience, etc.)

Yes, routines can be bad and may not help us if we are inflexible and do the same thing, all the time. But when it comes to exercise, consistency and adhering to your routine is the goal.

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