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For many, a summer holiday is motivation to get fit and healthy. But
after returning from two weeks of sunshine and indulgence, getting back
in the fitness swing of things is often easier said than done - and many
struggle to find their fitness mojo. This is especially important
considering the recent news that increased regular physical activity
(even an extra few rounds of golf) may reduce someone's chances of developing five chronic diseases. So if you're struggling to regain your motivation, or simply want tips on making exercise a habit, read on:

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1. Remember what the post-workout buzz feels like

Getting
to the gym is often the hardest step, so you need to remind yourself
how good it feels to have completed a workout. According to the Stress Management Society,
keeping fit has a huge impact on your mental state. Feel-good chemicals
like serotonin and endorphins are released, acting as a natural
mood-booster. A recent University of Tennessee study discovered that
long-term exercisers (those who had exercised for 13+ years) ranked
feelings of wellbeing as their top motivating factor for staying active.

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2. Set a goal

Studies have shown that goal setting is an effective strategy for behaviour change and a way to maintain motivation. Angela Ioannou Everyone Active Area Fitness Manager highlights that it's also important to think of the smaller, everyday goals:

"It's
very important to have a final goal in mind, but in order to achieve it
you need to focus on all of the small daily victories. Go out for that
walk, take the stairs, challenge yourself to try new activities and
enjoy them. To achieve something new you have to do things you've never
done before. Persistence is the key to your success."

3. Find a buddy

Not
only are you less likely to quit on a workout if exercising with a
friend, but also you're more likely to amp up the effort. A Kansas State
University researcher discovered that working out with a particularly
fit friend might mean your workout intensity and duration is increased
by 200%.

Classes are also a great idea. Fitness and nutrition expert Laura Williams explains:

"It's
easy to think the heat's off (excuse the pun) after the summer in terms
of staying on track with your fitness routine. Chilly months of
oversized fleeces and long evenings can make slacking off seem appealing
so try and think out of the aesthetic box. New classes - indoor and outdoor - are a great way to keep your fitness mojo alive.
You'll find a new exercise tribe and more than likely this will help
you create some new goals. You might find your new exercise hobby fires
you up for getting in shape for an Autumn hiking holiday or a January
ski break. Instead of viewing the start of Autumn as an ending to the
summer, try and see it as the start of a whole new fitness chapter."

4. Walk it out

For
a simple way to be more physically active, swap the bus and the car for
a walk. Walking might not be as cool as a spin or dance class, but it's
still effective tool for keeping fit.
Although a small study, research presented at the European Society of
Cardiology by Sanjay Sharma, professor of inherited cardiac diseases in
sports cardiology at St. George's University Hospitals discovered that a
20-minute daily walk could be adding years to your life. The average
person walks 3000-4000 steps a day, but the NHS suggest aiming for 10,000 steps a day. A good way to do this….

5. … Is by monitoring your progress

In a Harvard University blog,
Linda Arslanian, director of rehabilitation services at
Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital reveals that she
believes fitness trackers and pedometers are helpful. She tells the
author: 'When
you can see what your activity levels are, and you know that someone is
checking them, there's accountability, and you're motivated to work
harder because you want to comply
.' She adds that she uses
similar techniques with patients and clients. Some fitness trackers also
monitor sleep and other healthy lifestyle factors. If exercising for
the first time, it's always wise to consult a fitness expert or health
professional for advice.

Via

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