Tips for starting an exercise routine

Posted by on Jan 12, 2012 in Acupuncture, Exercise | No Comments

It’s the start of a new year; exercise classes and gyms are flooding with people resolving to get in shape or lose the extra pounds they’ve gained.  If you’re one of those people: good for you!

Everyone knows that exercise is important for health.  It boosts energy, burns calories, reduces insomnia, and helps prevent diabetes and heart disease. You don’t need me to go on and on about why you should exercise. So why is it hard to get enough exercise?

I personally have a lot of discipline when it comes to exercise, but I haven’t always been this way. For years I had to trick, cajole, bribe, and flat out force myself to exercise. Now I’m in the habit of regular exercise, and I notice how poorly I feel when I can’t do my regular exercise practice.

So here are a few tricks I’ve learned over the years that have helped me incorporate exercise into my busy life.

Make room for exercise. You make room for your relationships and the activities you enjoy, as well as work, chores, and other obligations.  Exercise isn’t any different. Get out your calendar and schedule the days and times that you are going to exercise.

Buddy up. It’s easier to keep an obligation when you’ve made a commitment to someone else. If you set up an appointment with someone to go for a walk or meet at the gym, you are more likely to actually go.  Plus we are social by nature; working out with others can be more fun than going alone.

Set concrete, obtainable goals. Yes, it’d be great to be able to do yoga every day and train for a marathon, but it’s important to be honest about your fitness level and the time you have available for exercise. If you set obtainable goals, you are more likely to achieve them.  Keep your goals focused, simple, and realistic.  If you get bored, you can always get a harder goal next time.

Interest and fun in your workouts. Personally, I am easily bored if I do the same activity too often. That’s why a dance class, hike, or hard rock climb is more appealing to me than running on a treadmill. Think about the things you enjoy.  Love nature? Find some place outdoors to walk or run.  Enjoy TV? Find a gym with TVs at every elliptical machine.  If you enjoy your exercise, it will feel more like a hobby than a chore.

Follow the leader. One of my favorite things about going fitness classes: I don’t have to motivate myself or think too much. I find an instructor that I like, he or she tells me what to do, and I do it. Community centers and gyms now offer aerobics, dance, yoga, boxing, martial arts, spinning, conditioning boot camp, and weight training classes, so all you have to do is show up and follow along.

Don’t over-think it. “An ounce of practice is worth a ton of theory.”  Yes, it’s very important to protect your body, use proper form, and prevent injury, but it’s even more important to let your body be your guide and teacher. After you’ve made room for exercise and found exercises you enjoy, don’t fret too much about perfect form unless you’re actually getting injured.

Acupuncture can help with any aches and pains that arise with your exercise regimen, as well as keep your energy level and metabolism on track for your fitness goals.  Call All and One Acupuncture and Herbal Clinic at (503) 281-6909 for a free consultation with Portland acupuncturist Boynn McIntire.  Or schedule online at

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