I have a huge grin on my face, my heart is thumping strong, and my legs are burning slightly as I pedal to work.
Depending on the season, this is a routine I am all too familiar with and one that I wake up a little early each morning to enjoy.
For me, there are very few things in life that I love more than feeling fit and healthy. The very best way I know how to generate this feeling is by maintaining an exercise routine.
I live for physical activity and more importantly, outdoor activity, that gives me such pleasure by connecting me to nature, grounding me and leaving me feeling invigorated and alive.
If I could find a way to spend all of my working hours in the great outdoors I totally would. Too bad trees are not a source of electricity. At least not yet!
After the birth of our son (now 4), my life and routines as I knew it changed in a big way. I no longer had endless time to ‘play’ at the gym or cycle across town just for fun. Every day seems more structured and I have far less time to enjoy this things I used to do, at least in the same way.
Getting creative with my time and choices is what truly keeps me on track. There are a few things that I want to share with you to help you fit in regular exercise:
1. Make a plan.
I plan my workouts days in advance. I am thinking about what I am going to do several days before the day actually arrives. If I know I need to take my son to daycare for example, I know it’s a biking or walking day. If I know I have to go to work, I know it’s a quick 30 minute in-home strength routine before heading out for the day. Thinking ahead makes all the difference.
2. Schedule it.
It is very easy to make a date and show up when it’s with our spouse, friends or children so making dates with ourselves should be just as important. If you want to make something happen, schedule it and stick to it.
3. Don’t do it alone.
Excuses are easy to make but do you ever really feel better after making them? If you need accountability, plan a workout with a friend, if you need support, join a group program, if you need guidance, seek out the right type of support and motivation that will keep you going. Lots of programs and options exist so it’s really about finding what works for you and making it happen.
4. Do what you like.
There is nothing worse than following an exercise routine that you totally dread doing. The best kind of exercise is the one that you will commit to and enjoy! My mother-in-law lost weight after her retirement because she had more time to swim laps at the pool. She said to me, “I don’t know how I did it, I haven’t been exercising.” Her definition of “exercise” meant physical activity she didn’t enjoy. Do what you love and do it often.
5. Get creative.
If you always drive around town to run errands but could walk, then change things up. Getting creative with your routines and the way you live your life can be a big game changer towards making exercise a habit. Ride, walk or take transit instead of driving. It’s better for the environment, saves you money and is much better for your health.
Human beings are creatures of habit. We all have habits that we do without thinking about, regardless if beneficial to our health or not. Most of us have a morning routine, a daily routine depending on if it is a work day or not and a retiring and unwinding routine at the end of the day.
The real key here is that when you do something repeatedly it slowly becomes a habit. Establishing new routines can be challenging, it’s true. Some experts say that it takes 2 months to form a new habit. But once you do, it’s much easier to maintain a formed habit.
Maintaining an exercise routine is one of the best things your can do for yourself. I cannot imagine living my life any other way. I am an endorphin junkie and I am sure if you find an exercise routine you enjoy, you could get hooked, too! I challenge you to make it happen today.