How To Create An Exercise Routine That You’ll Actually Stick To

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It’s two weeks into 2014…have you stuck to your fitness routine? Have you already swapped the spandex and water bottles for sweatpants and sugary drinks? If you’re still sweatin’ to the oldies, good for you! If you’ve gone back to the couch, think about what made you #KickTheExcuse in the first place.

If you have bad knees and hate squatting, don’t incorporate squats in your fitness routine. If you get bored while running long distances, don’t run 10 kilometres every day.  If your work hours are unpredictable and it’s too difficult to commit to a daily bootcamp, don’t stress yourself out. Yes – it’s that simple. Create an exercise routine that you’ll actually want to stick to. Exercise shouldn’t feel like dreaded algebra homework. It should be a challenge but it should be fun! There are so many different ways you can exercise – why make yourself do something you don’t enjoy? Here’s a list of 110 – yes, 110! –activities that count as cardio.  (Guess what? Vacuuming and raking leaves are great workouts. Who knew?! Your aching back certainly does.)

Whether you need to buy an awesome new pair of kicks (like these New Balance Rainbow 890v3s) to get your heart pumping or you are simply getting bored with your current exercise routine, here are some sample exercise routines you can stick to.

If you have “commitment issues” or want to slowly incorporate fitness into your daily routine:

Monday: 100 bodyweight squats or 100 single leg lunges

Tuesday: 40 minutes of raking/vacuuming/shoveling/sweeping

Wednesday: Hot yoga (or regular yoga) or 30 minutes of stretching

Thursday: 5-kilometre jog or a 30-minute brisk walk

Friday: 100 ab crunches or hold a plank for as long as you physically can

Saturday: Hiking or 1 hour brisk walk or bicycle ride

Sunday: Yoga or 30 minutes of stretching

If you like to pick heavy things up and put them back down (i.e. you enjoy the gym in all of its sweaty glory) here’s something to spice up your fitness routine:

Monday: 15 minutes plyometric exercise: jump squats, jumping split lunges, mountain climbers

Tuesday: Try to fit in 100 push-ups throughout the day. Do as many as you can at one time or do 10 every hour.

Wednesday: Climb all the stairs! Do 20 minutes of interval training on a Stairmaster or run up and down a long flight of stairs for 20 minutes.

Thursday: Take a rest. You deserve it! Stretch or foam roll your muscles to prevent injury and encourage growth and strength.

Friday: Add sprint intervals to your workout. They activate fast-twitch muscle fibres in your legs, building stronger hamstrings, glutes, and quadriceps.

Saturday:  Burn those muscles! Drop set all of your exercises today. (A drop set is a technique for continuing an exercise with a lower weight as soon as you achieve muscle failure. For example, moving from 25lb dumbbells and dropping to 20lbs and so on.)

Sunday: Hot yoga is a great way to keep your muscles lean and limber while detoxing your body and calming your mind.

It doesn’t matter if you exercise three times a week or every day: you should create a fitness routine that works best for you (even if the fad of the day is marathons or bench-pressing your best friend.) Create an exercise routine that goes with your fitness style like peanut butter and jelly.

What are some of your favourite ways to incorporate fitness into your day?

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