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Make a Resolution to Try an Exciting New Exercise

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Falling in love with fitness is the key to staying in shape forever!

You cannot sustain something you hate long-term.

I recently did a piece for the Los Angeles Times that was an open letter to Oprah Winfrey, who has publicly stated that she hates exercise. She’s been successful on and off with weight loss and maintenance just through an incredible force of will, but even someone as determined as Ms. Winfrey couldn’t keep exercising for year after year because she dislikes it so much.

As the letter states, she needs to just forget about losing weight and feel the love. She needs to learn to love exercise.

Are you struggling with exercise? Do you see it as a chore; a means to an end? Do you continually fall off the fitness bandwagon?

Alternatively, do you just want to make it more fun and kick things up a notch? Well, just like Oprah, you too need to feel the love, and that means it’s time to have some fun. So, this New Year’s, I want you to make a resolution to get some exercise excitement in your life.

It doesn’t have to burn lots of calories, build much muscle, improve your flexibility or tone your tummy. It’s just got to be fun, and maybe even a little dangerous to get the adrenaline going.

The first article I ever wrote for Chatelaine.com was about how to learn to love exercise, and that’s what this is about. You need to find an activity that you will actively feel excited about and look forward to doing. Like I said, it doesn’t have to work up that much of a sweat, but the important thing here is to get you into the mindset of exercise being something fun to do. Once you flip that switch in your brain, then the sky is the limit as to what you can do in terms of other exercises that may have a more direct impact on your physique.

Here are some ideas on how to integrate this:

Learn, Plan, Prepare, Then Do
This is all about building up self-efficacy, which is your situation-specific self-confidence. You don’t just go and jump into a new and strange activity without an understanding of what you’re in for or this creates stress. If you study up and prepare in advance, you feel much better about your ability to succeed at this new activity.

Consider a Team-based Approach
Again, trying something foreign creates stress, but if you’ve got companionship to lean on and go through the various trials and tribulations with, it spreads this stress out. There is also the fact that you’ve still got some familiarity associated with the activity and that is your friend(s) or family member(s) who are doing it with you. You can laugh at each others mistakes and encourage each other as well.

Get Creative
Seriously, think about how cool it would be to tell someone you go cross-country skiing with a rifle, or are part of a learn to luge group, or that you are studying a martial art that the Israeli Defense Forces use.

You want to think way outside the box on this one; maybe have a brainstorming session with whomever you’re going to partner with on this new adventure. Figure out something that is both appealing and doable then start planning your adventure.

Besides the few mentioned above, here are some ideas that come to mind:

  • Downhill skiing or snowboarding.
  • Some funky new dancing class.
  • Archery.
  • Roller skating.
  • Windsurfing.
  • Laser tag or paintball (warning about the latter – it really hurts).
  • Dodge ball.
  • Trampolining or gymnastics.
  • Rock climbing.
  • Snowshoeing.
  • Dance Dance Revolution.
  • Surfing.
  • Mountain biking.
  • Taking up a sport like basketball, soccer, volleyball or even hockey.
  • Water polo.
  • Scuba diving.
  • Kite surfing.
  • River or sea kayaking.

Make 2011 the year of adventure!

Find more tips at Chatelaine.com/health. Talk about this article and your staying in shape strategies in our health forum at  Chatelaine.com/community.

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