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5 Tips For Incorporating Exercise Into Your Life

This is a guest post by Greg Blencoe, @gregblencoe

In his recent post “How To Invest In Yourself (And Why)“, Dragos discussed the importance of exercising regularly.  I couldn’t agree more.

I have been exercising in some form or another since I was five or six years old.  I played on countless sports teams growing up.  With the exception of a few breaks when I was only running, I have been weightlifting consistently since I was 15 years old.  And I ran the Chicago marathon back in 2002.

Exercise has made an extremely positive impact on my life.  I think a lot of my self-esteem and self-confidence is due to exercising.  Furthermore, when I exercise, I am much more relaxed and can think much more clearly throughout the day.  And I have met so many wonderful, uplifting people while doing activities involving exercising.

Here are five tips for incorporating exercise into your life:

1.  Find an activity involving exercising that you enjoy

The first step in making exercise a part of your life is to find an activity involving exercising that you enjoy.  This is extremely important.  If you don’t enjoy the activity, you are much more likely to stop doing it.  Fortunately, there are all kinds of different activities that involve exercise.

For example, you might enjoy yoga, tennis, swimming, aerobics, running, playing soccer, weightlifting, walking at your local mall, cycling, or hiking.  There are obviously many other possibilities.  The point is to find one or more that you enjoy, so you have fun while exercising.  This will make it a lot easier to exercise on a consistent basis.

2.  Exercise multiple times per week for 30-60 minutes each time

While there are some people (e.g. professional or Olympic athletes) that might exercise up to 4-5 hours or more every day with relatively few days off, you can achieve very significant benefits from exercising in much less time.  For the average person, I think exercising 2-4 times per week for 30-60 minutes each time is about right.  Of course, you should always consult with your doctor before starting any exercise routine.  And depending on your current level of fitness, you may need to start slowly and work your way up to this level.

3.  Exercise consistently

I believe that the key to exercise is consistency.

I have seen friends of mine get very motivated about exercising for brief periods of time due to certain things happening in their lives.  For example, a girlfriend breaking up with you or an upcoming high school reunion can definitely make a guy want to get fit!  I have seen these people go from not exercising at all to working out very hard for a few months (e.g. exercising 1-2 hours per day for 5 days per week) and achieve amazing results during that time.  However, every time, the person eventually burned out and found a reason to stop exercising.

I think a much better approach is to exercise consistently over a long period of time (preferably the rest of your life!).  In very general terms, I would define consistently as exercising 2-4 times per week for 30-60 minutes each time during at least 75% of the weeks during the year.  This would allow you to take up to about one week off per month.

4.  Find ways to enjoy exercising even more

In order to become even more motivated to exercise, I highly recommend looking for ways to make your activities involving exercise even more enjoyable.  Here are several ways you can do this.

One of the most common ways is to listen to music.  You will not only enjoy listening to your favorite songs, but you will likely be energized which should make you work out harder.  Furthermore, if walking is your primary activity involving exercise, you might also enjoy listening to audio books or podcasts during this time.

Another way to enjoy exercise even more is to mix up your routine.  For example, a person who swims a few times per week might choose to play basketball instead from time to time to break up the routine.  One way I do this is to work out at different gyms.  My gym membership gives me access to all of the different locations.  While I usually go to the location that is closest to me, I will often go to one of two other locations that are also relatively close.  This allows me to see some of my friends that usually work out at those gyms.

Moreover, while I run inside when it is cold or raining, I run outside a lot when it is sunny and warm.  There is a park right by the lake close to where I live that has a 4.5 mile (approximately 7.25 kilometers) loop where people can walk or run.  I run there a lot from April to October when the weather is nice.

5.  Live an overall healthy lifestyle

While exercising in itself is very important, it is really just one part of living an overall healthy lifestyle.  Here are several suggestions for healthy living which will improve the results that you get from exercising.

The first is to watch what you eat.  Let me say upfront that I believe that eating should be an enjoyable part of life.  I don’t think that watching what you eat should mean completely taking away this enjoyment by eating very little, not eating any food you enjoy, etc.  However, moderation is very important.  For example, perhaps one piece of chocolate will do instead of two or three.  And maybe eating a certain type of fruit would be just as enjoyable as an unhealthy snack.  These small choices involving eating that are made every day make a really big difference over time.

Another suggestion is to drink mostly water.  When I started doing this a few years ago, I lost 5-10 pounds in about a month.  And I was very fit at the time.  But it helped me to become even more toned.  For the first week or two, the lack of taste with the water was an issue.  However, I quickly got used to it.  Now I don’t have much desire to drink anything else.  And drinking water makes me feel extremely healthy.

Finally, I highly recommend doing your best to surround yourself with supportive, positive people.  These types of people will make your life so much better by giving you encouragement and celebrating your successes.

Final thought

If you are not currently exercising, I hope you will consider making it a part of your life.  I view exercise as one of the best ways to become Brilliantly Better.

Author Bio: Greg Blencoe is the author of the personal development blog Positive Waves Baby.



Running For My Life - from zero to ultramarathoner


The spooky thing about depression is that it sneaks in. There aren’t really trumpets and loud voices announcing: “Hail, hail, this is depression entering the room, all rise!” Nope. It’s slow, silent, creepy. It doesn’t even look like depression. It starts with small isolation thoughts like: “Maybe I shouldn’t get out today, I just don’t feel like going out”. And then it does the same next day. And then the day after that and so on. And then it starts to whisper louder and louder in your ears: “Why would you go outside, you loser? Didn’t have enough yet? Want more people to make fun of how much of a big, fat loser you are?”

And then you start to breath in guilt and shame, instead of air. Every breathe you take is putting more dark thoughts into your body.

Until you get stuck. You can’t move anymore. At all.

If you want to know how I got out of this space, eventually, check out my latest book on Amazon and Kindle.

Running For My Life -from zero to ultramarathoner

This Post Has 22 Comments
  1. Thanks for sharing that, Greg,

    I only exercise 30 mins a day, but about 6 times a week. I find it highly vitalizing, especially since I’m working mainly with my computer.

    It’s not always fun ;( but I need the work-out and the body movement. It’s sooo energetic once you finish your exercises – I’m going to run soon to get those creative juices flowing 😉
    .-= Mars Dorian´s last blog ..3 Tips on networking the amazing way (video) =-.

    1. Hi Mars,

      You’re very welcome.

      I think it’s great that you exercise 30 minutes per day, six days per week. A lot can be done in 30 minutes, especially when your intensity levels are high.

      Like you, I mainly work on my computer, so I really enjoy going to exercise in the evening after a day of work. And it also helps keep my mind clear which makes writing, coming up with ideas for blog posts, etc. much easier.
      .-= Greg Blencoe´s last blog ..My personal 30-day money challenge starts next Monday on May 10th =-.

  2. Thankyou for this post, Greg! Something that also has to be addressed, is that people who do one or the other. There are people who just either “life weights, or do cardio. This is actually bad, because too much cardio means you’re also burning muscle.

    And lifting weight without doing cardio is bad because well, for obvious reasons to which I won’t want to get into cause this is a comment post.

    Anyway, in short, both is important! lol.

    Thanks for sharing this,

    Parker
    .-= Parker Lee´s last blog ..How to Be The Life of The Party =-.

    1. Hi Parker,

      Thanks for the comment.

      I think you make a great point. I like to incorporate weightlifting, cardio, stretching, and ab work into most of my workout sessions. I used to neglect stretching, but I’ve started to make myself do it over the past nine months. Just taking five or ten minutes to stretch helps a lot.
      .-= Greg Blencoe´s last blog ..My personal 30-day money challenge starts next Monday on May 10th =-.

  3. Finding something we love is key to exercise. And living an overall healthy lifestyle as you say, otherwise, it becomes so hard to exercise since it will go against the rest of unhealthy lifestyle we lead! Well, here’s to more healthy-minded friends among us!

    1. Hi Farnoosh,

      I completely agree about the importance of finding something involving exercise that we love to do. I’ve seen a lot of people try to do activities where it wasn’t a great fit and it usually wasn’t long before they stopped doing it. Fortunately, there are so many different ways to exercise that people can usually find several that they enjoy.

      Thanks for the comment!
      .-= Greg Blencoe´s last blog ..My personal 30-day money challenge starts next Monday on May 10th =-.

  4. Hey Greg

    I used to hate exercise. Then I found surfing, and my lifestyle went from occasionally hitting the gym once or twice a week to surfing every single day that I can. I also do alot more than 30 mins, maybe 3-5 hours. The key parts of what you have pointed out here in my mind are doing something you enjoy and doing it consistently. The combo of those two things have completely changed my experience with fitness and exercise. Now it’s more of an addiction that I long for then something I dread.

  5. Hi Srinivas,

    I’m so inspired by your story. This is such a great example. While I’ve never been surfing, it sounds really cool.

    It’s so special to find an activity involving exercise that you love. It’s fun instead of being a chore. Honestly, I love going to the gym. But I see people that aren’t really crazy about being there. Your story shows how we can find other activities that we can really, really enjoy.

    I also agree that consistency is very important. And it is so much easier to be consistent when you find an activity involving exercise that you enjoy doing.
    .-= Greg Blencoe´s last blog ..My personal 30-day money challenge starts next Monday on May 10th =-.

  6. Hi Greg.

    This is the way to go for health maintenance. I have exercised multiple times weekly for as long as I can remember. I don’t know what I would be without the exercise, but it wouldn’t be good. Basketball and running have been my main ones, along with some others tossed in at times like swimming or hiking.

    You are right about surrounding yourself with the right people. There were folks who I could rarely ever get to play basketball or go hiking, and then there were folks who were more than glad to do those activities naturally. It is easier to go with the flow of the river than against it.
    .-= Armen Shirvanian´s last blog ..Say More Of That Which Is On Your Mind =-.

  7. Hi Armen,

    Thanks for the comment. It’s great to hear that you have been exercising multiple times per week for a long time. It sounds like you have a really good mixture of activities with basketball, running, swimming, and hiking.

    I’ve also tried to get certain friends to exercise with me, but I’ve learned that it’s pretty much a waste of time. I instead just focus on making friends with people that I see at the gym all the time.
    .-= Greg Blencoe´s last blog ..My personal 30-day money challenge starts next Monday on May 10th =-.

  8. A well written article with solid advice.

    Health is the most important commodity one owns, more so than money, fame, success or even a playstation 3 and so keeping yourself in good check should be a top priority.
    .-= Jonny | thelifething.com´s last blog ..Purely For Your Entertainment And Amusement =-.

  9. Hi Jonny,

    Thanks for the kind words. I completely agree that health is extremely important.
    .-= Greg Blencoe´s last blog ..My personal 30-day money challenge starts next Monday on May 10th =-.

  10. Hey Greg,

    I really connect with doing something you love. I can’t stand exercising just for the sake of being fit and healthy. Frankly, that kinda bores me. If I’m going to get off my lazy butt, it’s to do something that’s fun i.e. capoeira, circus, rollerblading. In the end, it’s about creating a lifestyle and doing something that you don’t enjoy doesn’t seem like a sustainable or fun lifestyle.
    .-= Ben Weston´s last blog ..How to Run Away and Join the Circus! =-.

    1. Hey Ben,

      Thanks for the comment!

      I completely agree about the importance of doing an activity involving exercise that you love. Life is meant to be fun, so it just isn’t going to work if you don’t enjoy the activity. I imagine some people will have to try a lot of different things before they find the right fit. But when they do, it will definitely be worth it.
      .-= Greg Blencoe´s last blog ..My personal 30-day money challenge starts next Monday on May 10th =-.

  11. I’m constantly trying to incorporate exercise into my life. It will help with my depression but it’s like a vicious circle and I have trouble.

    I need to do it first thing in the morning or I spend all day thinking about how I’m going to have energy at 5:30pm and then have none. I run out of energy.

    I hope sometime, I’ll be back here and talking about how fit I am with thanks!
    .-= Scott Webb´s last blog ..Photography Obsessed – Freebie Goodie =-.

  12. Hi Scott,

    I think the key is to find an activity involving exercise that you really enjoy doing. My recommendation would be to try a variety of different activities to see if you can find one or a couple that work for you. I hope you will indeed be back here talking about how fit you are! 🙂
    .-= Greg Blencoe´s last blog ..My personal 30-day money challenge starts next Monday on May 10th =-.

  13. Greg –

    Looks like you’re everywhere at the moment – saw your article on Change your Thoughts too. Nice work.

    You have a great outline for how to incorporate exercise into life and I think that is the key. I love running and do it about 4 times a week, and now it is ingrained into my life. I have spreadsheets of my last 8 years of runs! Now it is just another part of my day and something I fit in (along with daily meditation).

    Thanks for sharing

    Phil
    .-= Phil – Less Ordinary Living´s last blog ..Secrets to your Successful Career – Part 2 =-.

  14. Thanks, Phil.

    I actually wrote the Change Your Thoughts article back in late March. And I wrote this one a few weeks ago. But it worked out where they were posted on back-to-back days.

    I’m very happy to hear that you run four days a week. And it’s impressive that you have kept spreadsheets of your runs for the last eight years!

    I also meditate daily. It has helped me SO much.
    .-= Greg Blencoe´s last blog ..30-day money challenge: Day 2 – Seeing lots of Toyota Priuses, dealing with negative thoughts about money, and coming up with an initial investment plan =-.

    1. I found that signing up for the MS150 bike ride (150 mile bike ride to raise $$ for Multiple Sclerosis) motivates me each spring to start training on my bike as soon as the weather is warm enough. Sigining up in a group commitments throughout the year has really made a difference in keeping excersize consistent.

  15. Thanks for the great tips. I believe that everyone has an exercise threshold. You have to put in the effort and discipline to cross this threshold. This threshold is where the physical pain of exercising is less than the mental pain of not exercising. It is at this point that people embrace exercise fully and cannot live without it.
    .-= Paramjit´s last blog ..Identifying a Natural Weight Loss Diet =-.

  16. For me the key to incorportating exercise into your life is to take things slow. Don’t go on a crash diet or train for a marathon right away. Instead, take half an hour each day for an activity you enjoy. Try different activities until you find one that suits your preferences and time schedule. Try and convince some friends to join you. Together it will be so much easier to stick your exercise appointments and you will achieve even better results.

    Good luck to you all!

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