When it comes to regular exercise, people are predominantly deterred by three main things - lack of enjoyment, motivation and time. Whether you’re a slave to one of these deterrents or all three, it can make getting moving a serious chore.
So when you stuck in a rut how do you ‘flip the switch’, so to speak?
We’ve taken a look and have found six of the best ways you can overcome your bad habits and mindset to start living a more active, balanced life.
Lack Of Enjoyment
Finding your favourite exercise can be a little tricky… If you’re someone who hates running, isn’t a strong swimmer, find yoga boring, gyms overwhelming, boxing too aggressive and just doesn’t like sweating - period - it can be easy to just give up and plonk yourself down on the couch. What else is there to do?
1. Make It Incidental
Love catching up with friends for coffee on Saturday mornings? Well, next time you head off for your weekly catch up, park a few blocks away to get your legs pumping (or better yet, go for a walk instead of a cappuccino). If you have an office job, only fill your water glass or bottle halfway, so you have to get up more frequently to refill it. When you hit the grocery store, use a basket to carry your items around in, rather than a trolley. Or, next time you’re on the phone (whether at work or at home) - simply stand up and wander around the room while you chat!
2. Make It Social
This tip is an oldie but a goodie! If you really (and we mean really) dislike exercise, get yourself a buddy! Whether it’s your partner, best friend, neighbour, college, or even another parent you strike up a friendship with at your kids soccer match, set yourselves workout dates each week and get through it together. If you’re struggling to find someone who can commit to a few times a week, join a class! There’s plenty of workout groups you can join (and who most likely train in the park around the corner from your house) and almost all gyms run a variety of classes everyday for members to join. If you’re a fan of swimming, check in with your local pool about their social clubs. And if you’re heading out on the weekend… hit the dance floor already!
Lack Of Motivation
You know what? We totally get it. After a long week at work a Saturday morning Netflix binge sesh is totally in order! But that excuse doesn’t fly throughout the rest of the week...
3. Make It A Habit
Even the most dedicated athletes struggle getting out of bed in the morning - so what hope is there for the rest of us?!
The trick is making your daily exercise - whether it’s hitting the gym, walking to work or taking the stairs - a habit. Why? Because once ingrained, habits require little to no motivation to complete at all! They’re simply just a part of your day, something you do without even thinking. And, by creating smaller habits (rather than focusing on ‘big’ goals) you pave a way for yourself to achieving better results long term. You stop expecting immediate, incredible results and instead set about positively changing your life one day at a time.
Want to know more about creating healthy habits? We love this easy step-by-step guide The 3R’s of Habit Change
4. Make It All About The Rewards
This is directly connected to forming habits and finding ways to make physical activity a natural part of your day. How do you form a habit that requires you to work harder and make more effort than before? The answer: by rewarding yourself.
But what exactly do you reward yourself with?!
Find something that is important to you and work this in with your new habits. For example, if you’re going to start walking to work, make yourself a killer playlist which you only listen to during your stroll. If you want to start taking the stairs each day, set yourself the goal of doing so for the month. If you do it, buy yourself a present.. like a new pair of shoes to keep walking in! Your reward doesn’t need to be massive or expensive, it just needs to provide enough incentive for you to continue sticking to your new habit.
Lack Of Time
5. Make It Short And Sweet
The world is currently crushing on HIIT workouts (High Intensity Interval Training) - and with good reason! As the population becomes increasingly time poor, anything that help us save time while maintaining great results is a definite win. And HIIT workouts can certainly help you achieve this.
HIIT workouts involve short periods of intense exercise, broken up by brief recovery periods. Lasting from anywhere between 10-45 minutes, HIIT workouts are highly effective for burning calories, increasingly your metabolic rate, stripping fat, building lean muscle and reducing blood pressure. If this sounds like something you need to try, most gyms offer HIIT classes - all you need to do is sign up! Or, if you’d rather #lonewolf a 10 minute workout, we love this starter guide.
- Make It A Refuge
Can’t find the time to exercise? Perhaps there’s slight chance it’s because you don’t want too!
Of course, this all ties in with everything we’ve already discussed - if you find a physical activity that you enjoy and create habits which incorporate it into your everyday life, soon enough you won’t have to find time to fit it into your day. It’ll simply be a part of it. And, the more you participate in physical activity and exercise, the more you’ll find you can’t live without those daily endorphin highs!