Sheryl Kraft, a freelance writer and breast cancer survivor, was born in Long Beach, New York. She currently lives in Connecticut with her husband Alan and dog Chloe, where her nest is empty of her two sons Jonathan. Sheryl writes articles and essays on breast cancer and contributes to a variety of publications and websites where she writes on general health and wellness issues. She earned her MFA in writing from Sarah Lawrence College in 2005.Full Bio
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We're approaching the time of year where, despite our best efforts, schedules and obligations start to crowd out common sense.
There are shorter days with less sunlight. Once 5 p.m. comes around, we take the sun's retreat to heart and feel like curling up and calling it a night.
There's Thanksgiving planning and cooking, cleaning out closets (who ever said it had to just happen in the Spring?) holiday shopping (if you like to stay ahead) and general busy-ness.
All that adds up to neglecting certain matters.
Unfortunately there's a price to pay when you deep-six your exercise routine: You feel guilty, frustrated and more sluggish than ever. But something, you say, has got to give.
If you're resisting the pull to join the masses on their exercise exodus, I've made it easy for you by telling you the tried and true ways to ditch the habit. After all, why not join the other 67 percent of people with gym memberships that never use them?
1. Don't lay out clothes the night before. If you wake up and see your leggings, socks, running shoes and outfit waiting for you, you might find it too easy to get dressed and go. Get rid of all visual cues, including your gym bag and water bottle.
2. Don't make promises. Committing to a workout with a friend, signing up for a class or booking a personal trainer all makes you accountable and less likely to cancel. Dump the threat of peer pressure and remain a loner – you won't run the risk of disappointing anyone (but yourself).
3. Tell yourself "maybe." This way you have the option to say no. Not writing it down on your calendar makes it so much easier to skip the exercise. Why commit to something you don't really want, anyway?
4. Keep your expectations unrealistic. Say: "It's 45 minutes of intense cardio five days a week - or nothing at all!" three times in a row. Or try: "I must lift weights three days a week, or why bother?" This way, if you're not feeling up to your usual routine, or don't live up to your hopes, you can say: "Why bother?" Although it may be true that some exercise is better than none at all – and there are ways to fit it in – you need to have an "all or nothing" approach. Why do some – if you can do none?
5. Remain seated at all times. Just because you can use commercial time during your favorite TV show to fit in some jumping jacks, balance exercises or push-ups doesn't mean you should do it. Better yet, aim for the shows with no commercial breaks, or fast-forward through those pesky commercials, and you won't even be tempted. And if you sit at a desk for much of the day, stay there. Taking frequent breaks to walk around, move your body and stretch will only make you feel more productive, both mentally and physically.
6. Sleep in. If you set your alarm an hour earlier and work out first thing in the morning, then you'll be sure to do it. Making sure you don't have the time – or putting it off for later – practically guarantees you'll throw in the towel instead.
7. Embrace the silence. Listening to music will only help you feel more motivated, increase your endurance and make exercise more fun – and may even distract you from the pain, fatigue and boredom that sometimes accompanies exercise. Just because studies have shown that music helps people run further, bike longer and swim faster than usual – without even realizing it – doesn't mean that you have to listen.