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Exercise as an Investment

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By: Cathy Wilson

I must admit, I don't like to exercise. If I could maintain my current weight and health, I don't know that I would. Let's face it, I didn't carry around 147 extra pounds by my love for exercise. What I do love is maintaining my healthy weight, a happier and healthier life, and the other habits that allow me to be happier than ever in my life. Exercise is a part of that. That is what I love.

I've struggled with maintaining an exercise routine. My thinking is that for only 30 to 45 minutes a day a few days per week, I get to maintain my weight loss, feel stronger physically, mentally and emotionally. Circumstances don't hit me and make me feel like a victim of life just waiting. My weight loss has given me that! By exercising for a few minutes out of the 24 hours per day that you are given is a very small investment for the gigantic payoff of a happy life. If only the stock market and our economy would pay off in a big way for such a small investment!

I need motivation to continue exercising. Through coaching, I was able to come to the realization that 30 to 45 minutes per day a few days a week gives me a happier, healthier life for the 23-1/2 hours in the rest of my day. Now, that's a major payoff. That's my motivation. Through coaching, you can find yours too.

Motivation is generated or dismissed in your head. So, here's some ways to convince your head to get fit, stay fit, and invest in yourself through exercise:

1. Exercise out of the gym. All activity and movement equals exercise. Exercise is a mindset. Rather than drive around for 10 minutes looking for the closest parking space, park in the last row where there are virtually no other cars and walk to your store. You'll get there quicker, burn less gas and burn more calories. While others are mindlessly standing on the escalator or wasting minutes waiting for the elevator, climb the stairs. Again, you'll be there while the others are wasting their time and hanging on to calories they could have burned. Look for opportunities to be active. Exercise doesn't count as exercise if it is within the walls of a gym. Think of exercise as all ways that you move your body.

2. Set an exercise goal. Decide that you'd like to participate in a walk/run event, train for a long distance walk, work with a personal trainer, increase your frequency or duration by a certain time. Give yourself rewards for reaching your exercise goals.

3. Ban boredom. Who wants to exercise if you are bored? Mix it up. One of the most popular television shows is celebrities that are learning ballroom dancing. Many of them have toned and lost impressive amounts of weight. Take dancing lessons to have fun and count as exercise. Other fun forms of exercise can include bowling, snowboarding, Zumba, swimming, water aerobics, walking your dog, or even laser tag. Rather than think of exercise, think about exercise combined with fun. Actual physical activity isn't boring at all. How you do it though can be. Reframe exercise as exercise combined with fun.

4. Exercise Multi-Tasking. While you're exercising, watch your favorite recorded television shows or dvd. Listen to audiobooks only while you're exercising. Load up your iPod or MP3 player with your favorite motivational songs. Listen to those tunes only while you're exercising. There are video games that you can dance to that definitely work up your heart rate as exercise. You'll forget your movement counts as exercise because you'll be having so much fun.

5. The more the merrier - bring a friend. Exercise with a friend, coach or personal trainer. Anyone to make it fun, share the companionship of exercising together plus the bonus of accountability.

6. Turn challenges into successes. Does your vacation give you an excuse to put your exercise routine on hold? Do projects at work derail your workout time? Does weather put the freeze on your regular activity? Look at these as opportunities to further deepen your commitment to yourself and exercise. Look for ways to incorporate activity into your vacation, set limits for your work projects, bring your exercise and activities indoors. You'll strengthen your commitment and exercise muscle into a no-give dedication to your health.

7. Exercise Stars. After you've worked out and felt great, write it down. Start a journal or log with your thoughts after a work out. Use images of past successful exercise experiences to remind yourself how great you feel. When motivation is questionable, pull out your notes of past exercise sessions to remind you of those powerful positive feelings.

I can't say that I'm in love with exercise. I've made friends with it and I like it. What I am in love with is my life following weight loss, maintaining my weight, feeling happier, stronger and healthier than ever before in my life. All of that for a mere 30-45 minutes per day? Now, that's an investment and dividend payoff that gives and gives the other 23-1/2 hours in your day. Exercise is the investment that keeps on giving all through your day. An investment in yourself is the best one of all.

Cathy Wilson is a weight loss life coach. Cathy lost 147 pounds six years ago. Her passion is helping clients achieve their weight loss and life goals. Cathy works with clients to create a weight loss life plan that is customized to each client. Cathy is a member of the International Coaching Federation, International Association of Coaches, and Obesity Action Coalition. Visit Cathy's website:

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