Exercise motivation: How do you stay on track?

One of the greatest challenges in any exercise routine is maintaining motivation over the long term—once you’ve gotten started, it’s

One of the greatest challenges in any exercise routine is maintaining motivation over the long term—once you’ve gotten started, it’s easy enough to get going for a little while, but it’s just as easy to taper off, especially if you feel you’re not making progress, or have no way to track your progress.

With some sports and activities, it’s easy to tell you’re getting better—think kids’ swimming lessons, earning belts in martial arts or (my personal favourite) numbered ratings in rock climbing. The goals are built in and there’s a simple way to tell if you’re getting better, and by how much. But with others, maintaining exercise motivation is more of a challenge. Take running, for instance: I’ve always run recreationally, never as training for a race, and going out for a half-hour run once in a while can get monotonous, even with music.

When Nike first released their Nike+ technology—a shoe sensor that connected to your iPod Nano and tracked your pace, time, distance and calories burned—I was eager to get it, but not so eager to buy a new iPod when I already had one that worked perfectly fine. So I lived without it. And then this spring, Nike announced the release of the Nike+ SportBand, a wristband offering all the great Nike+ tracking features with visual feedback, and no need for a Nano. It’s perfect if you want to run without music, or if (like me) you have a different music player. (Speaking of running without music, the Toronto police just issued a warning to pedestrians to be extra attentive when wearing headphones, according the Globe and Mail, after a woman was struck by a streetcar she didn’t hear coming—so if you’re walking or running outdoors while listening to music, please be careful!)

I tried it out for the first time this morning and I think it’s going to be a great boost to my exercise motivation—I can’t wait to hook it up to the Nike+ website so I can track my runs and see my progress. I’m even inspired to sign up for a race—and when I do, I’ll be following our 5K running plan to get started.

Have you tried Nike+? How do you maintain your exercise motivation?

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