If you are having trouble staying motivated on your fitness journey -- you are not alone -- but there are tricks you have likely never tried that can help keep you moving and sweating.
Real Simple spoke to experts who shared their exercise and workout secrets that may help improve your health, lower your blood pressure, reduce your risk of disease and even maintain or lose weight.
Get New Workout Shoes
How old are your workout shoes? The experts say workout shoes need to be replaced every 300 to 500 miles (which translated to around 6 to 8 months) because the shoe's arch support and shock absorption get worn down and this could lead to an injury. Also, running shoes should weigh no more than 10 ounces. So, if you are using a heavy pair of shoes that are many years old, it is time to invest in a new lightweight pair.
Switch up Your Workouts
If you usually go to the gym, try a new machine or a new class. If you run or walk outside, try a new route and consider working out with a group, friend, or the entire family. The experts note plateauing and getting bored with your usual routine can hinder your performance and the motivation to keeping working out.
Pay Yourself to Stay Active
Real Simple notes that research has found being paid to lose weight helps people stay active and drops those pounds. A year-long study found people who were paid money to reach their monthly weight loss goal lost more weight compared to those who were not. Try setting a goal for yourself each month and if you reach it, treat yourself to something special or set aside some money to spend later.
Keep Going Once You Reach Your Exercise Goal
If you can easily reach your 30-minute mark on the treadmill, add 5 or 10 more minutes. “Spend a couple of extra minutes on the elliptical, or five more minutes walking,” fitness expert Sean Wells tells Real Simple, explaining extending your workouts will help you improve your performance and build stamina.
Prep for Your Workouts
You have heard of meal prepping, try workout prepping! “Pack three or four gym outfits on Sunday with a snack—protein bar, nuts—for the whole week,” fitness expert Sean Wells suggests. “Sometimes just getting to the gym is the hardest part, but you’re more likely to keep your commitments if you’re ready.”
Wear Your Workout Clothes While Out and About
The experts tell Real Simple if you dress ready for a workout, you are likely to squeeze one in during the day if you find yourself with extra time. Senior exercise physiologist Heather Milton says, “Wear your sports bra under your sweater, or yoga pants instead of leggings,” noting that even just 15 to 20 minutes of exercise can give you an energy boost and help you get through the day.
Set Fitness and Movement Goals, Not Weight Loss Goals
The experts stress that fitness-based and health-focused goals are easier to achieve than goals that focus on your weight or physical appearance. Find out all the signs that your workouts are working that having nothing to do with what the scale says.
Remember, You Can Workout Anywhere
The experts remind everyone that exercise is not limited to just the gym, track, or pool. You can stay active anywhere, especially at home. Find out how to work out in your kitchen, in your living room, and get our list of the 10 things you absolutely need for home fitness.