Five or six days every week, Sue Wolcott, 41, hits the
treadmill in her basement.
It's a habit that started after she named her exercise machine
Ripley. "It's as in 'Believe it or not, I'm working out,'" says Sue,
a teacher in Grand Island, New York. "I would never skip out on meeting a
friend, so I decided to treat my treadmill like a person." It's become,
ahem, a running joke
in her set; one pal now refers to her own treadmill as Dusty. "It's just
us being silly, but when I'm asked if I've seen Ripley, I really love answering
yes," Sue says.
Despite what you may think, the trick to exercising
regularly isn't finding your inner enforcer. Rather, "it's getting
creative and tapping your natural motivations," says Kelly McGonigal, PhD,
a health psychologist and fitness instructor at Stanford.
We asked women
who work up a sweat almost every day for their stick-with-it solutions.
1. Don't Put Away Your Gear.
From the moment she rises, Kristina Monét Cox, 26, has
exercise on the brain. That's because the first things she sees are her
sneakers and workout clothes.
"I've got them next to the bed in plain sight," says Kristina, the
CEO of a communications firm in Houston. "I've also got dumbbells right
where I can see them in the bathroom, and a balance
ball, a yoga mat,
and a jump rope strategically placed throughout the house." Forgetting to
exercise is never her problem.
Why it works: Visual cues are a wake-up call to your
brain. "We all have competing priorities like work, family, chores.
Sometimes we need a reminder to keep exercise at the forefront," McGonigal
2. Turn Your Commute Into A Workout.
On days that Monica Vazquez, 27, a master trainer for New York
Sports Clubs in New York City, can't do her usual run, she stuffs her
essentials -- keys, cash, credit card, phone and ID -- into a fanny pack and
jogs home from work instead. "Running is a great workout, but it's
also great transportation," she says. "Sometimes I get home even
earlier than I normally do taking the subway."
Why it works: Running, walking,
or biking somewhere you have to go anyway makes exercise feel time-efficient.
"And you don't have to carve out another part of your day for it,"
says Michelle Fortier, PhD, professor of health sciences at the University of
Ottawa. "It's an effective strategy for people who are busy from morning