by Kafi Drexel
So sign us up for any way to minimize the anxiety, which is where the new book from registered dietitian Elisa Zied, Younger Next Week, comes in. She reminds us that "physical activity is the ultimate anti-aging remedy." For real! Check yourself out in the mirror after your next Spin class (and a shower of course). The increased blood flow alone makes your skin more supple. The biggest reason we heart Zied's book: Easy-to-follow tips, or more like recipes for stress, that she's dubbed "Stressipes." We asked her to design an exclusive stressipe for SELF readers to tackle this all-too-common stressor:
"I'm never motivated to work out. I always put it off or talk myself out of it. It creates this awful cycle -- I'm stressed that I'm not working out, and not working out is making me more stressed. Help!"
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Zied says, "Exercise is a privilege, not a punishment! People can have a negative association with exercise, and may think of it as hard, boring or brutal. But it doesn't have to be. Here's a stressipe to help you turn your lack of motivation into action." Her five-step stressipe:
1. Ask yourself, "What's in it for me?"
"Before you can commit to regular exercise, it's important to sell yourself on its benefits. Do you want to have more energy? Feel less tired? Be sharper at work? Look better naked? Simply move better and feel better doing it? Whatever your goal, thinking about, and better yet, visualizing the benefits you'll enjoy from a more active lifestyle rather than focusing on perceived sacrifices (e.g. waking up early or paying for a fitness class of gym membership) will make you more likely to run -- and not walk -- to find workouts that move and excite you."
2. Think: Gotta move it not to lose it.
"Most of us are so fixated on simply getting through the day that we seldom think of how our actions -- or inactivity -- will affect our long-term health and well-being. I once had a friend who told me she gifted herself no exercise for a few months for her birthday. To me, that sounded like a punishment more than a gift. If you're blessed enough to be in good health and are able to move your body to keep it strong and fit and to keep your mind sharp and mood on an even keel, shouldn't you? Being physically active not only gives you mental and physical strength you can enjoy today, but also provides you with a cushion that soften the blow if and when your habits are impeded by illness, injury or other stressors. Just fitting in some extra walking, climbing stairs and other simple activities (jumping jacks, wall squats, lunges and planks) regularly and standing or walking instead of sitting as much as possible throughout the day will amount to a solid amount of mental and physical benefits."
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3. Tap into some of that child-like wonder!
"Instead of thinking of exercise as something negative--as a punishment or chore or something you have to unhappily grunt your way through--think of activities you enjoyed as a kid and make it a point to do a few of them. Hula hooping, twirling a baton, riding a bike, swimming, shooting hoops, ice skating or playing tennis or another sport."
"If you know that you're never going to be the girl who likes to exercise, build in some rewards for completing the workouts you dread. After you do a treadmill run, boot camp class or core exercises, reward yourself by scheduling a massage, seeing a movie or buying yourself a small gift (if the gift is fitness-minded, even better)."
5. Juice up the entertainment.
"Downloading music, an audio book or a favorite TV series to listen to or watch on your smart phone or iPad gives you a great way to pass the time, especially when you use an elliptical or stair-climber or ride a stationary bike. And you may even prevent the urge to lie around and watch too much TV later!"