For many of us, it can be a challenge, to say the least, to make exercising a priority in our busy lives. Whether it’s in the morning when we first wake up, on a quick lunch break, or in the evening after an eventful day, it can be easy to shelve all thoughts of working out.
Getting motivated and finding the energy to exercise can be complicated, no matter what time of day.
We all know that there is a myriad of excellent reasons to exercise. Better sleep, heightened mood, more overall physical fitness, less anxiety, and stress – these are all excellent reasons, but are they enough to get us moving?
The trick is to overcome those mental barriers, which is where this article comes in. Here are some ideas to make exercise a priority in your life and have your workouts be fun rather than intimidating or painful.
1. Start slowly
There’s no point in trying to swallow that elephant whole. One bite – or in this case, one step – at a time is the best way to ensure that you’ll keep exercising.
Don’t immediately start with a 6-day-a-week marathon training.
Begin with something small that you enjoy. It can be a 10-minute walk or run while listening to a podcast. Or 20 minutes on rollerblades (even if you’ve never done them before).
2. Find a buddy
Exercise can be much more fun if you’ve got someone to do it with. Studies show that working out with a buddy can be more motivating, more fun, and you’ll tend to stick with it for longer.
Look for someone whose schedule, choice of activities, and goals are similar to yours. If you don’t know anyone like that, look for exercise groups or clubs in your local area.
3. Ditch the excuses
There are many excuses we tell ourselves about why we can’t work out. Here are some examples:
No time. We’re not talking an hour for exercise here. You can exercise in short bursts of activity – 5, 10, or 15 minutes a few days a week can already make a difference. Try some resistance bands like the ones at https://victoremgear.com if you want to do bodyweight exercises at home. You could bring them to the office too (for those of us still going to an office!) If you have time to watch TV, you have time to exercise. Give yourself that gift, even if it’s 5 minutes a day.
Exercise is too hard. Find something you like, and it won’t be hard. Even gentle activities like swimming or walking are suitable for most people. If you are concerned about exercising because of your health, speak to your medical professional and see what they say. You may be surprised at what they come up with for you! And exercise doesn’t mean pain – even cleaning the house is good exercise!
I’m not athletic. Well, the good news is that for things like walking, gardening, cleaning – you don’t have to be a gym bunny. Exercise doesn’t necessarily mean team sports where you have to strike a goal and win.
I’m too tired. You’ll be glad to know that exercise gives you more energy! Far from wearing yourself out, you will find that you have more energy than you did before by doing a moderate amount of exercise. Your health will improve, and your energy will increase. Double bonus!
4. Choose the days and times that fit your schedule
There’s no point forcing yourself to exercise in the morning if you prefer to do so in the evening or at lunchtime. Find what time of day – and which days – work for you.
By establishing a routine, your brain will help you stick to it. The brain quickly gets used to doing the same kinds of things at the same time daily, so make things easier on yourself by exercising regularly at the same time.
5. Be kind to yourself
We have all grown up with our share of being criticized, so why do that to yourself? There are no benefits from self-deprecation, so why do it? Research shows that there are actually scientific benefits behind self-compassion.
Don’t criticize yourself because of your current fitness level, body shape, or motivation (or lack thereof). Think of your exercise routine as a journey, as an opportunity to do things that you enjoy so that you can treat yourself to a healthy and robust body.
And above all, find ways to make it enjoyable. The more fun you can have, the easier it will be to stick to your routine, and the sooner you’ll see results!