Do you have trouble beginning an exercise program? Do you find every excuse in the book not to start? I’m too busy, too tired, can’t make it to the gym, don’t want to go to the gym? A goal of exercising 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week may sound good, but how likely are you to follow through?
Well, let’s make this simple so you can get moving and reap the benefits of movement without it becoming a chore!
First, let’s review the Why?
There are endless reasons why exercise or movement are beneficial:
1) Improved Energy
2) Improved Mood
3) Improved Sleep
4) Reduces anxiety and depression
5) Reduces stress
6) Improves cardiovascular health
In order to get into the game, you need to have the right mindset and a smart approach in order to establish the right habits to make movement a long-lasting part of your life.
Here are 3 steps you can take to make exercise less intimidating and painful and more fun and automatic!
1) Ditch the all-or-nothing attitude: you don’t need to spend hours in the gym or force yourself to do activities you dislike or find hard to do.
Start by taking a walk at lunch or walking around your office as you take a phone call. Get up and move or stretch as you’re listening to music.
2) Be kind to yourself: Studies show self-compassion increases the likelihood that you’ll succeed in any endeavor. So, don’t beat yourself up about your body, your current fitness level or your willpower. This will only demotivate you.
3) Check your expectations: You didn’t get out of shape overnight, so it is unrealistic to believe that you will instantly transform your body. Expecting too much too soon, leads to frustration. Instead of obsessing over results, focus on consistency. While improvements in your mood and energy levels may happen quickly, the physical payoff will come in time.
How to make movement or exercise a habit that sticks!
1) Start small and build momentum: the more ambitious your goal, the more likely you are to fail. Start small. Start with easy exercise goals you can achieve before moving on to more challenging goals
2) Make it automatic with triggers: triggers are simple reminders that kick off an automatic response. Triggers are one of the secrets to success when it comes to forming an exercise habit. For example, the alarm clock goes off and you are off on your walk. You spot your sneakers by the side of the bed and you’re up and running.
3) Reward yourself! When you start an exercise program it is important that you give yourself immediate rewards when you successfully meet your goal for the day. An example can be a hot bath or a favorite cup of tea or coffee.
4) Choose activities that make you feel happy and confident.
Don’t choose activities like running or lifting weights at the gym just because you think that’s what you should do. Pick activities that you like and fit your lifestyle, abilities and taste.
5) Schedule it: Mark it on your agenda like you would a work meeting or an appointment!
6) Hold yourself accountable: Commit to another person. If you have a work out partner, you are less likely to skip out. Or ask a friend or family member to check in on your progress. Announce your goals to a social group (either on line or in person) can also help keep you on track.
7) Track your activity levels: “If you don’t measure it, it doesn’t exist”. Measuring your activity levels can help you stay on track and realize that you’re slipping before you’ve completely lost the habit.
9 quick and easy ways to start incorporating movement now!
1) Walk up and down the stairs in your home 5 times
2) When cleaning the house, do a few squats every time you bend down to dust under the coffee table.
3) Do some lunges as you pick up the kids’ toys or around the house.
4) Jog in place as you wait for pasta to boil.
5) Get the kids involved! Get a jogging stroller if you have a little one, or play active games at home or run after them on the playground.
6) Sleep in your workout clothes so that when you wake up, you’re ready to roll out of bed and go!
7) Stand on one leg and balance when you are brushing your teeth.
8) Swap your chair at work with a stability ball
9) Do a 7 or 10 minute workout online.
Anything is better than nothing! Start slow and small so you can build your fitness and confidence around physical activity. Try staying accountable with anything you do and over time.
I incorporate movement and mindfulness into my weight management nutrition program. Book an appointment to chat about your goals now or find me on Facebook for more healthy living tips.