Making exercise a habit, enjoying your workout!
If getting active and staying healthy were easy, everyone would do it... but we don't.
You already know there are many great reasons to exercise—from improving energy, mood, sleep, and health to reducing anxiety, stress, and depression. But if knowing how and why to exercise was enough, we’d all be in shape. Making exercise a habit takes more: the right mind set and a smart approach.
Are you feeling that winter blues are kicking in…? We come home after a long day, unable to summon the energy to take a walk or hit the gym. Whether it's time management, stress, a busy job, bustling family life, or something else they are all excuses and half the time this is when we need our workout the most!
Busting the biggest exercise excuses
“I’m too tired.”
It may sound counter-intuitive, but physical activity is a powerful pick-me-up that actually reduces fatigue and boosts energy levels in the long run. With regular exercise, you’ll feel much more energized, refreshed, and alert at all times.
“I’m too busy.”
Even the busiest of us can find free time in our day for things that are important. It’s your decision to make exercise a priority. And don’t think you need a full hour or two for a good workout. Short 5-, 10-, or 15-minute bursts of activity can be very effective.
“Exercise is too difficult and painful.”
“No pain, no gain” is an outdated way of thinking about exercise. Exercise shouldn’t hurt. And you don’t have to push yourself to the limit to get results. You can build your strength and fitness by walking, swimming, even gardening, or cleaning the house. Also many fitness classes/ gyms cater for all levels of fitness. In my classes I always give progressions so I cater for all levels, one good thing with starting is you can soon see your progressions. slowly being able to do the things you once couldn't, injuries getting less painful as you become stronger! :) remember we all have to start somewhere, I was not always good at fittness and could run miles, start small...aim big!
“I'm too out of shape,” “I’m too old,” or “My health isn’t good enough.”
It’s never too late to start building your strength and physical fitness, even if you’re a senior or a self-confessed couch potato who has never exercised before. Very few health or weight problems make exercise out of the question, so talk to your doctor about a safe routine for you.
How much exercise do you need?
Current recommendations for most adults is at least 150 minutes of moderate activity per week. You’ll get there by exercising for 30 minutes, 5 times a week. Can’t find 30 minutes in your busy schedule? It’s okay to break things up. Two 15-minute workouts or three 10-minute workouts can be just as effective.
Here’s what you can do to break through mental barriers:
- Ditch the all-or-nothing attitude. You don’t have to spend hours in a gym or force yourself into monotonous or painful activities you hate to experience the physical and emotional benefits of exercise. A little exercise is better than nothing. In fact, adding just modest amounts of physical activity to your weekly routine can have a profound effect on your mental and emotional health.
- Be kind to yourself. Research shows that self-compassion increases the likelihood that you’ll succeed in any given endeavour. So don’t beat yourself up about your body, your current fitness level, or your supposed lack of willpower. All that will do is demotivate you. Instead, look at your past mistakes and unhealthy choices as opportunities to learn and grow.
- Check your expectations. You didn’t get out of shape overnight, and you’re not going to instantly transform your body either. Expecting too much, too soon only leads to frustration. Try not to be discouraged by what you can’t do or how far you have to go to reach your fitness goals. Instead of obsessing over results, focus on consistency. While the improvements in mood and energy levels may happen quickly, the physical payoff will come in time.
How to make exercise a habit that sticks
There’s a reason so many New Year’s resolutions to get in shape crash and burn before February rolls around. And it’s not that you simply don’t have what it takes. Science shows us that there’s a right way to build lasting habits.
Choose activities that make you feel happy and confident
If your workout is unpleasant or makes you feel clumsy or inept, you’re unlikely to stick with it. Don’t choose activities like running or lifting weights at the gym just because you think that’s what you should do. Instead, pick activities that fit your lifestyle, abilities, and taste.
Rewards are powerful behaviour reinforces, so immediately reward yourself when you successfully complete a workout, reach a new fitness goal, or simply show up on a day when you were tempted to ditch your exercise plans. Rewards are most effective when they’re something you look forward to, but don’t allow yourself to do until after exercise. It can be something as simple as having a hot bath or a favourite cup of coffee.
Set yourself up for success
- Schedule it. You don’t go to important meetings and appointments spontaneously, you schedule them. If you’re having trouble fitting exercise into your schedule, consider it an important appointment with yourself and mark it on your daily agenda.
- Remove obstacles. Plan ahead for anything that might get in the way of exercising.
- Hold yourself accountable. Commit to another person. If you’ve got a workout partner waiting, you’re less likely to skip out. Or ask a friend or family member to check in on your progress. Announcing your goals to your social group (either online or in person) can also help keep you on track.
Getting back on track
Even the most dedicated exercisers sometimes go astray. Almost anything can knock you off track: a bad cold, a trip away, or a stretch of bad weather. That’s why it’s important to learn how to reclaim your routine. When you’ve missed workout sessions, Just evaluate your routine and is it working for you? Variety is key, never just do the same workout day in day out, your body will plateau and you will soon become bored, leading to you to fail. If you’ve been away from your routine for two weeks or more, don’t expect to start where you left off. Cut your workout in half for the first few days to give your body time to readjust.
The bigger challenge may come in getting yourself back in an exercise frame of mind. Try to keep confident in yourself. Instead of expending energy on feeling guilty and defeated, focus on what it’ll take to get started again. Once you start your program, you’ll be amazed at how quickly it will begin to feel natural. Rather than focus on why you don’t want to exercise, concentrate on how good you feel when you’ve finished a workout.
Remember ENERGY = ENERGY: Using our energy for a workout will in return give us energy back… So NO excuses – YOU CAN DO IT!!!