On Curtailing Complacency

by Angela Yorke | July 25th, 2011 | Exercises, Mind & Body

One of the easiest things about an exercise routine is starting one. Some might say it’s also the most difficult thing to do if you’ve been sedentary for a while. Whatever you feel in the beginning though, it’s hard to escape the feeling of complacency that can set in after you’ve stuck to a routine for a while.

Feeling complacent about exercise is different from hitting a fitness plateau. Plateaus occur when your body doesn’t make the same progress it did 8 weeks ago, which can be perceived as a sign of progress. On the other hand, complacency might be described more bluntly as a laziness that begins creeping in once you can see that your fitness efforts have begun paying off, exertion becomes routine, and you start thinking that you can slack off with impunity.

One way to keep complacency at bay is to keep things interesting. In the same manner you’d tire of even the best pasta if you had it every day for a month, carrying out the same exercise routine every single day would quickly become a chore. Rather than sticking to the same trek around the park each day, for instance, try to vary a daily run/walk by seeking new routes. At the very least, walking/running in the opposite direction might present you with a different perspective and keep things interesting for a longer time.

It also helps to keep a record of why you’re exercising. Most people start exercising because they want to lose weight, which makes them look and feel better; however, this initial motivation can be forgotten as time passes, and a routine becomes more of a rut than a revolution. Part of the motivation that comes from this reminder is the fear that you will return to your pre-exercise “condition,” but writing down exercise goals also motivates a person into making exercise more interesting for him or herself.

Most of the time, exercise is viewed as a chore. The very word conjures up images of drab routines and joyless living, even when the opposite is true. As such, a regular reward is one way you can prevent complacency from creeping in. Everyone needs a self-centered splurge every once in a while; you could treat yourself to a spiffy new arm wallet if you stick to your plan of running X distance every day for Y days. An entire day spent lazing in the park or the house with that significant other is also another way to reward yourself, although you probably shouldn’t finish that tub of double fudge raspberry ripple ice cream.

Consistency is key in order to for an exercise routine to be a success. Although some complacency may creep in over time, making the effort to keep it at bay is sure to pay off in the end.

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All health and fitness information is provided for educational purposes. Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise regimen.