| By Jay Karl

Does it feel like winter has dragged on endlessly and spring will never arrive? Do you find it difficult to get out of bed in the morning and get yourself to the club? Are you making up excuses on your way home from work to avoid stopping at the gym? Rest assured, spring is here and summer is sure to follow. However, even the most dedicated exercisers occasionally get bored with their routine. Waning motivation, short cuts and lack of enthusiasm, are signs of a stale exercise regimen, but that doesn’t mean you can’t re-energize your routine. Here are a few tips for staying motivated to keep active:

1. Vary your routine. A new variation on your favorite activity—such as Zumba or cardio-kick boxing instead of “Step” aerobics, or yoga or even a different kind of cardio workout may be enough to reinvigorate a stale routine.

2. Try something entirely new, especially something you never thought you’d do. If you’ve always stuck to solitary pursuits, sign up for a team sport, such as basketball. Or tackle something you’ve shied away from, such as a “cardio blast” class.

3. Find a workout buddy. Exercise companions add a social element to any routine. Ask a friend to be your workout partner—you’ll be less likely to skip a workout if someone is waiting for you.

4. Set a new goal. Working out to stay in shape is fine, but setting a goal, such as finishing a 5K race or completing a bike -a-thon, will give your daily workouts more meaning.

5. Treat yourself to a workout gadget or accessory. Heart-rate monitors and other exercise gadgets can make your workout more fun and challenging.

6. Keep an exercise log to track your progress. Unsure if you’re making progress toward your goals? Then keep a workout log, which allows you to keep track of your goals, monitor your progress and adjust your routine as necessary.

7. Don’t berate yourself if you miss a workout. Life is full of obstacles and unexpected appointments, illness and setbacks are bound to happen sooner or later. Don’t let a few missed workouts turn into a month of unfulfilled resolutions.

8. Reward yourself. Reaching a fitness goal or milestone is a great excuse to treat yourself to something new. A massage, an evening out, or other “indulgence” may be the key to staying motivated.

9. Focus on how good exercise makes you look and feel. You know that incredibly satisfied and healthy feeling you get immediately after a workout? Remember it! And use it to motivate yourself the next time you’re thinking about blowing off your workout.

10. If all else fails, take a break from exercise. Sometimes a lack of motivation is your body’s way of telling you to rest. If anything hurts, or if your energy is running low, take a hiatus for a few days before resuming your workouts. A little “R & R” may be just what your body needs to renew your motivation.

Jay Karl

<p>Jay Karl is executive director of sales for Sportime Clubs. Jay has more than 30 years of experience in the fitness industry, specializing in sales and marketing. He supervises and mentors membership personnel and functions as executive director of sales for Sportime, and also serves as general manager of the Sportime at Syosset Fitness location. He may be reached by phone at (516) 496-3100 or e-mail <a href="mailto:jkarl@sportimeny.com">jkarl@sportimeny.com</a>.</p>