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Fitness

How to Never Miss a Workout

It’s so easy to find an excuse not to exercise. Use these tips to make it harder to skip the gym.

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This morning, you packed your sneakers and had every intention of going to the gym. But, somehow, you wound up on the couch. Sound familiar? We’ve all been there. The following five hacks can help you find the motivation to exercise, no matter what.

Choose a workout that you like. Not looking forward to pounding on the treadmill? No wonder you decided to go to dinner instead of the gym. Choosing a type of exercise that you love can keep you motivated. When researchers interviewed 24 people about their workout and lifestyle habits, they found that enjoyment was a theme for those who exercised regularly. The subjects reported that they liked workouts that changed things up, such as those with a social element. You may need to rethink your exercise routine: If you really hate running, consider joining a tennis or soccer league, or sign up for those dance classes you’ve always wanted to try.

Find a fitness buddy. If you know that a friend is waiting for you at the gym or on the running trail, you’ll be less likely to bail. A workout partner keeps you accountable. Case in point: One study of about 3,700 couples showed that people were more likely to exercise when their spouse did.  Whether it’s your significant other or just a friend, partnering up with someone can also boost your workout results. Another study found that people cycled twice as long when they had a buddy than when they did it solo.

Put money on the line. Forking over your hard-earned cash is serious motivation to get moving. In one study, researchers found that those who had to part with money when they didn’t hit a fitness goal exercised more than those who didn’t. One thing you can do is download the Pact app (free). With this app, you make a weekly goal. If you don’t reach it, you’ll have to give a designated amount to the other users who did. Another way to invest in your fitness is by buying those personal training sessions or yoga classes in advance. You’ll want to attend something you already paid for.

Make it a competition. A little healthy competition can get you moving. Join that fitness challenge at work or the gym, or start your own. Organize a group, and see who can log the most steps or complete the most workouts in a given month.

Sneak in a short routine. When it comes to excuses, “too busy” is at the top of the list. But even if you don’t have time to go for a run or hit the gym, you can squeeze in a quickie routine right at home. Just 150 minutes per week (an average of 21 minutes/day) of moderate exercise can help keep your heart healthy. Create a high-intensity circuit by doing 30 seconds to one minute of a number of different exercises, such as jumping jacks, push-ups, and crunches. Find a routine on the American College of Exercise’s site or download an app, such as the 7-Minute Workout (free).