How to Get Yourself to Exercise – Pay Yourself First

It used to be that doctors recommended rest for all kinds of conditions.  Child birth.  Stay in bed for a week.  Major surgery.  Don’t even think of getting up and moving.  Feeling stressed?  The Victorians went to the beach and put their feet up for weeks at a time.  But no longer.  Now, medical research has found that there is hardly anything that is wrong with you that exercise won’t help.

 

a great way to get out on a cold day

Skiing in the park

It is very easy for me to put off exercise.  The carpet has cat hair that needs vacuuming.  Moldy leftovers have invaded the fridge.  Or, I admit it, I just want to finish the level  5 Sudoku.

 

My husband doesn’t have this problem.  He goes to the gym and uses the weight machines.  He has a standing date to play racquetball with friends.  He rides his bicycle for errands, to his substitute teaching jobs, or just a few miles for the heck of it.

Why can he get regular exercise and I can’t?  My natural tendency is to get a bit irritated at him for putting himself first instead of helping with the chores.  But a couple of months ago I decided to try to learn from him instead.  After all, he does help out – just after he’s exercised.

As I thought about it, I realized, that is the difference.  Just as in saving money, it helps to pay yourself first.  Bill places a top priority on exercising and because he exercises regularly he has more energy to tackle the chores after he is finished.

So last November, I decided to change the priority.  I would make my to do list and move exercise to the number one spot.  I had some motivating factors.  We’re going on a cross-country ski vacation in February and I want to be in shape.  My bone density test showed some osteopenia, a precursor to osteoporosis.  My doctor encouraged me to work with weights.  I want to continue to be active as I age.  Exercise seems to be the factor that I can control.

How’s it going?  Better.  I was doing a great job of using my free weights and going for brisk 3 mile walks until the Christmas season hit.  Then preparing for company seemed to push exercise down the priority list.  I picked it back up in January and the unusual (for us) snow fall meant that I had chances to get out and cross-country ski.  I haven’t completely changed but I’m doing better.  Most weeks I lift weights twice and go for at least 3 brisk walks or similar outings.

How about you?  Where does exercise come in your priority list?  Do you have some tricks to get yourself to exercise?

 

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Filed under activities, Time management

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