How many times have you promised yourself that you’ll start to do regular exercise? Have you started to exercise regularly, joined a gym or taken up a sport only to start missing sessions and eventually give up on it completely? Sometimes it’s just too easy to say no to exercise, especially if work and family life are tiring you out. If that’s your case, it doesn’t mean to say that there’s no hope for you. You just have to win the psychological battle first.

If your problem is that it’s just too cold/rainy/hot to go outside for a run, or perhaps you’re shy to be seen by the neighbours, or just that you want to see what happens next on your favourite soap opera, or even that the sofa looks too comfortable, then there’s good news. You don’t have to go outside to brave the elements or the beady eyes of your neighbours – you can exercise at home.

With the aid of a mat, some dumbbells and a Swiss ball you can give yourself a pretty good workout. If you don’t really know what you’re doing, have a DVD that you can throw on and simply follow the instructions. The key to success here is to make an exercise schedule and have your gear on hand. That means have it in the same room as you usually hide away in when it’s exercise time. If you have to get up off the sofa, go upstairs, unpack your exercise gear, bring it downstairs and lay it all out ready before you can start, you might consider the whole task too daunting to even attempt and therefore decide it would be a better idea to close your eyes and see what happens then. If your kit is right next to you, it’s kind of taunting you, prodding and nudging and asking for your attention. In that case it’s easier to just lay the mat out, do your stretches and get to work. After your workout, you should, of course, take a shower, but being the lazy thing you are, if you want to fall straight back onto the couch, you can.

One thing about this home workout is that it doesn’t really give you a chance to get much cardio in. That’s why you should buy a machine to help you work on this. Treadmills and exercise bikes are popular, as are rowers and elliptical trainers. I favour elliptical trainers for giving you a full workout with minimal impact on the joints. You can find out more for yourself on the Indoor Ellipticals site.

For some people, especially those who don’t own their own homes, creating a mini-gym is not an option, so we’re back to the question of how to motivate yourself to get up off your backside and out of the house to do some exercise. Sometimes all it takes is that – to stand up. Go out and start walking. If you feel you can, break into a jog and even a run. Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t – you are at least walking and a brisk walk for thirty minutes is much better than sitting on the sofa.

If you want to get out and do something really active, take up a sport with other people. It’s much more difficult to decide against exercise if you know that someone is relying on you to pick them up or to take some kit for them. Make it competitive, too, to give you more of an incentive to do it. You can even bet on yourself to achieve certain goals. Do a sport that excites you – five a side football and hockey give you a great work out, but if you find kicking a ball around to be ridiculous but you love swords, then fencing involves plenty of energy, too.

Don’t wallow in misery, resigning yourself to a life of XXL clothing and crushing people in the seat next to you on the plane or one the bus, get up and do something about it. You’ll find the first time is the hardest. It will get easier and you will feel the buzz from exercising.

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How many times have you promised yourself that you’ll start to do regular exercise? Have you started to exercise regularly, joined a gym or taken up a sport only to start missing sessions and eventually give up on it completely? Sometimes it’s just too easy to say no to...