Change your mindset from “boring and daunting” to “fresh and re-energizing”
Staying motivated to workout year-round isn’t always easy. But it’s vitally important.
After all, getting consistent, routine, heart-pumping exercise is the closest thing we’ve got to a “magic bullet” for good health. And it really doesn’t get much better than summertime exercises!
Summer days give us warmer weather, extended daylight, and slower schedules. Meaning we often have more time (and energy) to dedicate to ourselves.
So, if you’re one to let your exercise routine slip during the dark days of winter, know that you’re not alone. But don’t let yourself off the hook!
Make the decision RIGHT NOW to start fresh and re-energize your workouts this summer. (And if you haven’t worked out in a while, these suggestions can help get you started.)
As a bonus, you get to put your new confidence (boosted from your freshened exercise regimen)—and strong body on display at the beach, the ballpark, or backyard barbeques!
Five tips to revitalize your routine
1. Plan and track your workouts. Just as planning your meals helps you stick to a healthy diet, planning your workouts helps you get moving regularly. In fact, numerous studies show tracking and monitoring your workouts can have you achieving your goals and staying motivated over time.
So, map out what exercises you’re going to tackle to reach your 150-minute weekly target. Then, put it all on your calendar for guidance. And remember to hold yourself accountable!
For extra motivation, you can download a fitness app on your smartphone or invest in a wearable fitness device (like a “smart watch”). Most are user-friendly and easy to use. They’re a simple way to track your workouts and daily movement. They sometimes even prompt you to get moving—or to simply get up and stand.
Of course, if that isn’t your cup of tea, just use a regular paper calendar to plot out your weekly exercise goals. All that matters is finding a system that works for YOU.
Finally, if you’re struggling to fill your schedule with different types of exercise, remember that exercise can be FUN (see tip No. 4 below). Plus, you can always find fresh ideas for how to stay active on the internet—or join a new virtual or in-person class.
2. Get creative with scheduling. Again, during the summer months, you have more daylight to work with. And probably a lot more energy, thanks to all that extra sunshine and vitamin D.
If you’re an early bird, take advantage of the cooler, brighter mornings to get up… and get moving. If you find you have the most energy during the middle of the day, try working out around lunchtime. If you’re a night owl, perhaps you can opt for an evening workout after dinner, as the sun sets.
(Of course, if you have trouble winding down at night, make sure to stop exercising at least three hours before turning in.)
That said, the best time to exercise is truly whenever you have time.
If you’re still working from home, build in some time for physical activity during the time of day you were usually on the road. Or, if you don’t have long, open blocks of time during the day, think about scheduling two, short, higher intensity workouts—like cycling or even jumping rope.
In fact, my personal favorite form of exercise when I’m “in a crunch” is high-intensity interval training (HIIT)—where short bursts of intense exertion are separated by lower intensity intervals. You can find lots of fun, free HIIT programs on YouTube. They only take about 10 to 15 minutes each. But they really get your heart pumping!
3. Make a “date” to workout. Research shows you’re far more likely to stick with a workout routine if you do it with a partner. So, put out the word to your friend group to see who wants to meet up once a week at the local track or hiking trail. Plan a “date” with your spouse, children, or grandkids. Or simply “schedule” a daily walk with your dog, if you have one.
If you can’t talk your friends and family into working out as a team, you can look into joining a local club or online community. (Bonus: You may find new activities at a local center that you never thought to try, such as pickle ball, tennis, or even swimming.)
In the end, spending time with like-minded, healthy people will help you stay on track. Plus, when you know someone is counting on you, you’re more likely to stick to your healthy routine!
4. Make it fun. All too often we think about exercise as something we “have” to do. But your chance of success increases substantially if you find ways to have FUN while doing it.
So, mix in a few new activities to your routine that feel exciting to you—like yoga or Tai Chi. And to help stay energized and engaged throughout your workouts, spend time creating a new playlist. (Music is an easy way to stay motivated.)
(This is one of my personal favorite ways to stick to my active lifestyle. In fact, a few years back, I stepped out of my comfort zone and into a trapeze class. It was quite the experience… and quite a workout! Now, I regularly indulge in Soul Cycle classes. It’s like going to a nightclub in the middle of the day—and I find it downright addicting.)
If you loved swimming as a child, start swimming some laps at the local public pool or in a natural body of water, if you live near one.
If you love to explore, find a new hiking trail, or take a long walk through a new part of town.
Maybe even let yourself indulge in your favorite TV show or podcast… but only when you’re running or walking on the treadmill. It will certainly give you more motivation to lace up those sneakers!
And speaking of workout gear, think about investing in some new clothes that make you feel—and look—good with exercising. I find my patients enjoy working out a whole lot more when they leave their baggy, tattered t-shirts in the closet. Instead, reach for some fresh, comfortable workout clothing (and shoes) that fit well and wick away moisture.
5. Always remember your “why.” It’s easy to get stuck in a rut and lose your motivation for exercising when you do the same thing week after week. When this happens, it just means you need to bring your “why” back into focus.
In other words, ask yourself, “WHY do I want to exercise?” Then, build yourself a brand-new exercise plan that supports your “why.” For example, maybe you exercise to:
- Improve your overall mental and physical health. If general wellness is your goal, just about any type of physical activity will help you achieve it.
(Check out the February issue of Logical Health Alternatives for more insight. I report how exercise can conquer heart disease, diabetes, dementia, depression, anxiety, and MORE.)
Not to mention, the brain benefits of consistent exercise are particularly astounding. In fact, at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference a few years back, a pair of studies found that regular exercise not only reduces Alzheimer’s symptoms in those already suffering from the disease—but can also improve overall cognition.1
Just remember to hit your weekly goal of at least 150 minutes of physical exercise.
- Lose weight (and look good!). If weight loss is your goal, you should amp up your aerobic activity. Plus, these exercises really get your heart pumping, which translates to improved heart health, to boot! The key here is making sure your exercise routine makes you break a sweat. This can include a brisk walk, jogging, swimming, biking, tennis, and more. To help determine if you’re doing enough, I recommend the “talk test.” If you can’t say more than a few words, it means you’re exercising hard enough to really start shedding some pounds (with consistency).
- Improve strength, mobility, and flexibility. As we age, we tend to lose muscle mass—so, if you want to retain and build your muscles and improve bone density, think about adding some resistance exercises to your routine—like lifting weights or using resistance bands. Isometric exercises, like planking, can also help you build strength.
Additionally, as we age, we tend to lose the natural flexibility and mobility we once had in our youth. Fortunately, you can gain some back by practicing daily stretching or core exercises, like yoga, Tai Chi, or Pilates. These types of exercises maximize your range of motion—allowing you to stay active for years to come.
As an added bonus, these exercises can have a HUGE impact on your health. In fact, a 2020 study found that regular stretching can help improve your blood vessels’ elasticity… which boosts blood flow to the heart.2 Another 2020 study found that people with high blood pressure experienced MORE dramatic improvements in both their systolic (top number) and diastolic (bottom number) readings after 30 minutes of stretching compared to after 30 minutes of walking!3
The bottom line here is that engaging in physical activity is necessary for good health. But it’s easy to lose motivation.
That’s why I encourage you to shift your focus from “boring and daunting” to “fun and rewarding.” And summertime is the perfect time to start fresh!
Diabetes? Try exercising after dinner.
According to a recent study, people with Type 2 diabetes who exercised after dinner experienced a decrease in their blood sugar levels and their blood fat levels—both of which affect the disease.4 Whereas when they exercised earlier in the day, they “only” decreased their blood sugar levels. What a simple way to help reel in your blood sugar!
To a healthier you,
Fred Pescatore, M.D.
 “How Exercise Helps Curb Alzheimer’s Symptoms. Time, 07/23/2015. (https://time.com/3968683/exercise-treatment-for-alzheimers/)
 “Evidence for improved systemic and local vascular function after long-term passive static stretching training of the musculoskeletal system.” The Journal of Physiology, 2020; 598(17): 3645-3666
 “Stretching is Superior to Brisk Walking for Reducing Blood Pressure in People with High-Normal Blood Pressure or Stage 1 Hypertension.” J Phys Act Health. 2020;18(1):21-28.
 “Post-dinner resistance exercise improves postprandial risk factors more effectively than pre-dinner resistance exercise in patients with type 2 diabetes.” Journal of Applied Physiology 2015: 118(5): 624-634.