Train Your Brain to Love a Workout

Get into the exercise mind-set with these easy steps.

By Robin Immerman Gruen

Exercise is key­ to better overall health and crucial for proper bone health. That said, you’re slow to embrace the actual exercise routine, right? For good reason: It may seem daunting.

To the rescue: exercise aficionado Traci Danielson Mitchell, president of DM Nutrition & Fitness in Chicago, with her favorite ways to train your brain to enjoy—even adore—a workout. As always, be sure to ask your healthcare provider before beginning any new fitness routine.

Go shopping

Although it may sound crazy, buying new workout attire is a winning way to jump-start your fitness routine. “When you look good, you feel better,” Mitchell explains. “I always suggest investing in one or two items that will help you stay committed and make you feel stylish, even when you’re sweating.” And don’t forget: The money you spend outfitting yourself will be wasted if you don’t exercise—another guilt-inducing reason to stay motivated.

Make fitness fun

Remove the word “work” from working out; take the term entirely out of your vocabulary. Then, choose an activity you already enjoy—from dancing to window shopping—and make it part of your healthy lifestyle. “You’ll be much more inclined to commit to exercise if it’s relatable and attainable, fun and enjoyable," explains Mitchell.

Prep and stretch

Your workout has three crucial parts: before, during and after. To maximize the fitness portion—and feel great enough to come back for more, the next day—you must properly prepare your body for the exercise, and soothe it afterward, Mitchell says. Learn some key pre- and post-workout stretches, and never skimp on them. That way, your body will be equipped to tackle your next workout.

Recruit a buddy

“In my experience, people who exercise with friends or in a team setting are more likely to stay vested, focused and devoted to the routine," Mitchell says. That’s why it’s important to recruit people to move with you. Bonus: The time will fly when you're exercising in cahoots with others. Choose a topic to discuss at each workout session—for example, celebrity gossip one week and healthful recipes the next—you’ll stay energized and learn something new.

Published December 2013

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