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Can you trick yourself into liking exercise?

By Nicci Micco, February 3, 2009 - 3:36am

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Can you trick yourself into liking exercise?

I want to (and know I should) exercise more. I actually like to run—but I often go long stretches (weeks!) without running. I find all kinds of excuses to skip exercise: the baby didn’t sleep well, I’m too busy at work to break at lunch, I’m too hungry at dinner to run first. You know what I mean, life stuff.

When I get into these ruts, I try to remind myself that even President Obama makes time to exercise. But that sort of reasoning doesn’t really get me out the door on a run.

What does work for me? These are my 4 tricks to get myself to exercise more:

  • Rewards—such as a hazelnut nonfat latte from my favorite coffee shop as a post-run treat—help get me moving. Or I’ll make myself a delicious, healthy dessert.
  • For every mile I run, I earn a dollar to spend on something I don’t really need, just want, like some cool jewelry or a new pair of shoes. Frivolous maybe, but motivating for sure.
  • I’ve also started subscribing to the idea that exercise doesn’t have to be “all or nothing” and reminding myself that walking with my dog is legitimate physical activity. Even vacuuming the house with my son in the BabyBjorn counts for something: it’s lifestyle exercise. So I’m volunteering for those sorts of jobs and letting my husband do the less-active tasks, such as folding laundry in front of the football game.
  • Setting goals for myself—both big ones and small ones. I’m planning to do a half marathon in May. I’ll be motivated to get regular exercise if I know I’m working toward a bigger goal. If I get stuck, I’ll remember these 6 ways to sneak in more exercise.

Exercise may never come naturally to me, but history tells me that I’ll never stop using little tricks and bribes to stay as active as possible.

What motivates you to exercise? Tell us what you think below.

TAGS: Nicci Micco, Diet Blog, Diet, Fitness, Weight loss, Wellness

Nicci Micco
Nicci Micco is co-author of EatingWell 500-Calorie Dinners. She has a master's degree in nutrition and food sciences, with a focus in weight management.

Nicci asks: What motivates you to exercise?

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