Lifehack: Tricking Yourself Into Working Out When You Don’t Want To

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We often tell our patients that one of the most important things they can do to help heal after labor, to help work through reproductive issues or even just to help with general health is to continue working out and staying fit and healthy (or to start working out if you don’t already). Let’s be honest, there are days when it seems impossible to make it through your general to-do list, so the motivation to get on a treadmill or take a yoga class or lift weights just absolutely isn’t there. But what if you could “trick” yourself into getting active?

Take a look at some of our best stealth-tips to get moving on days when you’d rather skip it.:

Just show up. Go to the gym at a time you know they offer classes and just do whatever class is going on at that time. It doesn’t have to be something you normally do, just do whatever is going on. If it’s cycling, do cycling. If it’s Zumba, do that.  Either way, just get to the gym and it’s pretty likely the “well I’m already here” mentality will kick in, or – if nothing else – not wanting to be the person who shows up and walks right back out. Doing whatever is happening is a great way to keep your interest and motivation up and also guarantees you’re working different muscles each time.

Pretend you live in the dark ages. Try to imagine from time to time that you don’t have electricity. Take the stairs instead of using the elevator, walk to your co-worker’s desk instead of sending an email and hop on that dusty stationary bike instead of watching TV at night.

Give yourself an “out.” Instead of walking for a certain distance or length of time, tell yourself you’ll walk to a mailbox or down the street and back, but that’s it. Once you start walking, you’ll likely keep going, that’s just the way most peoples minds work. Sedentary tends to stay sedentary and active tends to stay active. Another version of this trick: tell yourself you’ll exercise for “just 10 minutes.” Chances are you’ll do more.

Listen to your workout playlist. You know how certain songs remind you of certain occasions in your life? Take advantage of that experience and get pumped up by listening to a few of your favorite workout tunes before you hit the gym or class. You will associate the song with exercise, which will make you more likely to want to grab your workout clothes, or at least get up and start grooving to the music.

Go on active dates. Instead of sit-down chats with your friends, walk the neighborhood while talking with them. The same for meeting up with friends in person, or going on dates.  Schedule activities. Instead of lunch or dinner, go hiking, biking or even rock climbing if your partner is the adventuresome type. Take a look at what your local area offers and make plans that will keep you moving! Doing an activity together also helps prevent awkward first-date silences.

Take your gym clothes to the office. If you work out after work, stopping home to change or pack your gear often leads to sitting on the couch, which turns into watching TV and skipping your exercise time altogether. Eliminate the temptation by bringing your gym clothes with you to work or maybe keep your gym bag packed and ready to go at all times with clean workout clothes and travel-size toiletries for washing up afterward.

Watch commercials. Instead of fast-forwarding through commercials when viewing recorded shows, use those minutes to take workout breaks. Make it a game! During the commercial breaks, set a number of repetitions for bodyweight exercises such as squats, lunges, pushups, jumping jacks and planks. Try to increase this number as you get stronger, even if it is one exercise at a time.

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