Hopefully everyone is enjoying their Labour Day Weekend!
Now that all of that is out of the way, I’m afraid I have to be the bringer of bad news; summer is over. Yes, we likely still have a solid month or so of nice weather and can probably even make it to the beach a few more times. But as a mindset for many, Labour Day marks the end of relaxing and a return to buckled-down work.
The end of summer also usually means the end of the laid-back attitude towards diet and exercise. We can all be forgiven for indulging in the occasional BBQ feast and some cold beers, and when it’s 30°C relaxing in the sand sounds a lot better than going for a jog. But now comes the difficult task of getting your head back into ‘exercise mode’ and motivating yourself to get back into shape.
Have a look a few tips for your post-summer exercises.
Set weekly goals.
In just about every exercise-themed advice article like the ones on this site, you’re likely to come across advice like this. That’s not due to a lack of imagination on the part of the authors (like yours truly) but rather that this is a solid piece of advice that cannot be overlooked. Goals are natural motivators and give you something to strive towards while also being a handy tool for measuring your own progress. However, after a long exercise-lite summer, you may need some more frequent and timely motivation. Setting weekly goals helps keep you more on track than longer term goals. There’s no need to push yourself too hard to start out, just something to reach for by the end of each week.
Establish a routine.
Just as it is difficult to break a bad habit, it’s not easy to establish a good one. Most people cannot just say that they will go for a run every morning and then actually go through with it. A lot of things can and will get in the way. But by forcing exercise into your routine a little at a time, it can become just another morning habit. It could be as simple as doing a couple push-ups each time you go to the washroom, or walking the dog before breakfast, then you can grow upon the routine.
Find an exercise aid.
Let’s be honest, we’ve all excused ourselves from the occasion jog under the basis that it’s “boring”. While it is admittedly a pretty lame excuse, there is some truth to that. Going for a jog, or run on the treadmill, or any number of exercise activities can be pretty tedious and that hurts your motivation to actually do it. Make the process a little more enjoyable with some help. You could jog with a friend to give you someone to talk to, make an exercise playlist of all the best music to inspire you, or if music is too much like background noise, try an audiobook or podcast. If you find the right exercise aid, you may actually start to look forward to your regular jog.
Enjoy the nice weather.
As I said before, the summer mindset may be ending but that doesn’t mean the weather has to change as quickly. Hopefully we’ve still got a good bit of sunny days to look forward to so you might as well make the most of it. Go for runs outside—or even just long walks. Go down to the beach and go for a nice long swim (just about the best exercise there is). Visit some beautiful hiking trails while you can still wear shorts. After all, as all Canadians know, Winter is coming.
Whatever your goal is with your exercises, having a reward is important to keep yourself motivated. Some people indulge in a ‘cheat day’ where they can enjoy food that is not strictly-speaking healthy. While that can be a great incentive, you do need to make sure your weekly exercises actually justify a cheat day. The reward could also just be a day of relaxation where you can sit on the couch and enjoy some lounging. In the end, you know what kind of reward you deserve and you shouldn’t feel guilty for treating yourself.