Exercise is an important part of being healthy (if it weren’t this magazine would be a TOTAL waste of time), but that doesn’t mean that it always needs to be a big deal. You may want to train to become the next Men’s Health cover model, but you might just want to be a little healthier. If you’re the latter, then here are a few ways to trick yourself into exercising that won’t break the bank or your spirit.

1. Just do something

Anything more than nothing is something. And if you’re not doing anything, you’re not only putting your health at risk, but you’ll start to see the results of a lack of activity in the mirror and on your waistband soon enough. So just do something. Doesn’t need to be much at all. Take a walk after work, go for a bike ride if the sun’s out, go to a yoga class.

A recent study published this week in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that the life-extending benefits of physical activity can be seen whether you’re killing yourself in the gym all day or just walking a few minutes more.

Get your phone to track your steps, or (if you want to be really accurate) get yourself a fitness tracker that does all the maths for you.

Aim to be active for 30 minutes a day in some shape or form. It’s surprisingly easy yet surprisingly few of us do it.

2. Do something you enjoy

There is absolutely no point in starting a fitness program that you despise. Sooner or later (sooner most likely) you’ll find a reason to give up. If you hate the gym, then don’t join the gym. If you hate running, then don’t run. Why spend time doing something you hate?

Go to a dance class, take up self-defence, go play tag with your nieces and nephews, try pole-dancing. Literally anything you want to do that makes you move is a BIG help and a great first step.

3. Go to bed early

If you’re stressed, working late, going out a lot, or drinking lots of alcohol, your sleep will probably be suffering. This will mean your energy levels will be low the next day and your motivation to exercise will be all but a distant memory. So turn off the TV and put down the screens nice and early and go to bed.

Avoid caffeine and drinking too much water an hour before bed so that you sleep uninterrupted and awake in the morning fresh as a daisy and ready to hit the gym (should you want to).

Which brings us to …

4. Try working out in the morning

 

That 6am alarm will make you hate the world, but those precious hours before work are a fantastic resource in which you have free time and energy. Evenings are easily booked up with dinners and drinks with friends, or a box set that you want to binge; making it easier than ever to skip exercise after work. (Read our post on 5 Reasons The Morning Is The Best Time To Workout)

Make it easy for yourself by choosing what you’ll wear and packing your gym bag the night before. Do it as soon as you get home from work and before you start to unwind. That way it’s all done and you just need to fall out of bed and go!

5. Make working out a social activity

Image: Instagram @themusclemarys

If you’re skipping the gym to hang out with friends, then why not trick yourself (and your friends) into working out by hanging out at the gym? Find yourself a gym buddy and you’ll find exercise way more motivating (just don’t look for one on grindr, you’ll not find someone interested in exercising at the gym).

Try group classes like Spinder or the amazing Muscle Marys, where you can work hard, get fitter, and hang out with a fabulous group of gays several times a week!

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