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Monday, 8 December 2014

Getting Started & Keeping Going

You know that you want to look and feel fitter and healthier! 

You know that you will feel better after a workout, yet you just can't bridge the gap between lying on the sofa, thinking about exercise and actually doing it. "Knowing what is good for you and wanting to do it is, alone, not sufficient to make sustainable behaviour changes," says Dr Falko Sniehotta, a psychologist at the University of Aberdeen. "The proverb, 'The road to hell is paved with good intentions', is backed up by science. There is often a substantial gap between our intentions and our behaviour."

Ten top tips to boost your motivation

Take 10 Make a deal with yourself to do 10 minutes and you will probably end up completing a full workout.

Get your kit on Get up or go home and put on your workout clothes. Once they are on, you'll feel you may as well make use of them.

Distract yourself Research at San Diego State University suggests that most novice exercisers do better when chatting to a friend, listening to music or watching television.

Psych yourself up Listening to uplifting music before and during exercise can be beneficial.

Phone a friend "A workout buddy gives you a moral obligation to turn up, introduces an element of rivalry to push you harder and offers feedback, support and fun," says sports psychologist Costas Karageorghis.

Get a gadget Equipment that allows you to monitor your progress - such as heart rate monitors, pedometers and the Nike + Sports Kit (which monitors pace and distance) can help. Research by the Walking the Way to Health Initiative found that people who wore pedometers over a 12-week period ended up walking an extra 1,000 steps daily.

Make it bite-size Focus only on the moment and before you know it, you'll be cooling down.

Imagine it Visualisation is a very powerful mental strategy, but be careful. "If you see yourself sprawled on the sofa, feeling guilty about not being at the gym, your mind will take on board those negative feelings," says exercise coach Amelia Watts. "Better to visualise yourself exercising and feeling good. See yourself on the home stretch of a run - imagine how good you feel, what you might hear, smell and see when you put your key in the door."

Get minted As far-fetched as it might seem, research in the Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology found that sniffing peppermint resulted in increased running speed, hand grip strength and number of push-ups performed in a test.

Bribe yourself "Token reward systems work well," says Karageorghis. "Set yourself rewards for achieving stages along the way."

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