Are you in a rut? 

Frustrating, isn’t it? You know exercise is good for you; after all, we were the once-buff, the poster children for health and fitness. We practically invented exercise, after all. (Not really. But we did lead a kind of fitness revolution, giving rise to the percentage of American adults who exercised regularly).

So why is it that it is sometimes such a challenge to get going? And what can you do to get back on track?

1. Be accountable. Enlist a friend or two to be your “exercise buddy.” If you schedule a walk/run/take an exercise class with other people, you’ll be more likely to show up (and it’s likely you’ll work even harder, too, especially if they’re more fit than you are!)

2. Write it down. Not only can keeping a journal of your routines help inspire you (“today I ran for 30 minutes, did 25 push-ups, 30 squats and ten minutes of stretching”), but scheduling exercise in on your calendar, just as you would a doctor or lunch appointment, makes it a priority.  Almost non-negotiable. And we all know how we treat priorities. We prioritize them.

3. Make a playlist. Music is inspiring – and helps inspire and give you more energy to power through your routine. And research shows that music can boost your motivation and reduce your perception of how hard you’re really working – all good things to pump up your workout to a new and higher level. I enjoy and succeed at my workouts so much more when I sync my movements to the beat of the music.

4. Try intervals. Yeah, you could just…walk. But that gets boring. Rather than a slow-and-steady workout, use the ‘HIT’ method (High Intensity Training).  Basically, you incorporate intense periods of work with short recovery segments. And if that isn’t exciting enough, you continue to burn fat even after the workout ends, and increase your cardio ability and strengthen your heart at the same time. Take a look at some examples here: http://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/hiit-workout 

5. Step outside. Now that the weather is getting warmer (it is, isn’t it?), get out and breathe in some fresh air and see the sights. It helps boost your mood and gets you out of your normal stay-inside routine which, face it, can be really boring and uninspiring after a while.

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Sheryl Kraft’s work has appeared in various print and online publications including AARP, Prevention, WebMD, Woman’s Day, Everyday Health, Grandparents.com, HealthyWomen.org, Senior Planet, JAMA, Weight Watchers, Bottom Line/Health, Bottom Line/Women’s Health, Caring Today, Westchester Magazine and more. She lives in her empty nest with her husband, Alan, and enjoys weekly Sunday visits from her two hungry 26 and 28-year-old sons (who also occasionally bring a load of laundry). When she's not working, Sheryl enjoys exercising, reading, walking and biking the neighborhood, seeing Broadway shows and spending time with friends. Visit Sheryl's website at www.sherylkraft.com or her two blogs, MySoCalledMidlilfe and Midlife Matters.