It’s hard to start a plan. It’s difficult to continue your plan. You’re too tired. Too busy. Too unmotivated. There are things you’d rather do. Should do.
Maybe sometimes you are able to guilt yourself into it because you know you *have* to. It’s sort of like eating vegetables. You don’t love it, but you vaguely know why you *should* do it more.
Or maybe you ate a slice or two of cake and you think that 60 boring and mindless minutes on the treadmill or elliptical will balance it out.
Maybe you have a gym membership that you never use because nothing about a windowless room with a bunch of screens and machines makes you happy or excited to wake up at some godless hour you’ve deemed necessary. (Ladies, I’ve been there.)
Or maybe you think that working out is going to help you to lose weight, so you go to the gym for a little while and then you stop because…?
Maybe you’re just not “athletic.” (Oh look, it’s me again!)
Or if you can’t exercise 5 days a week for 60 minutes at a time, it’s not even worth trying.
Do any of these ring a bell? They did for me. I think I’ve said each of these to myself numerous times in the past 15-20 years.
The CDC recommends that adults get 150 to 300 minutes of moderately intense exercise per week and 2 days of strength training per week. Why? Sedentary behavior, like sitting at your computer eight hours a day, places you at higher risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, and general mortality. The CDC states that “physical activity helps prevent 8 types of cancer […], reduces the risk of dementia (including Alzheimer’s disease), all-cause mortality, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and depression; and improves bone health, physical function, and quality of life. (1)” There’s evidence that it can help cognition in those with dementia, multiple sclerosis, ADHD, and Parkinson’s, decreases the risk of postpartum depression, and reduces risk of excessive weight gain. The CDC also says that ANY exercise is better than no exercise. (1)
And yet only one in three adults meet these guidelines (2).
But you hate to exercise! You probably hate to exercise because of all those lies you keep telling yourself about how you hate to exercise. The all or none thinking. That exercising is going to help you lose weight. That it must be done in a gym. Or that you should do it because of your diet. Or that you’re just not the athletic type. I believed every one of these lies, too.
Over the years, my mindset has shifted drastically. Here are some secrets for learning how to love moving your body!
Don’t start out an exercise routine at full blast. Make small goals. Ease into it.
Find what works for you. It doesn’t have to be what everyone else is doing. It just has to work for your life.
Sign up for a friendly challenge, competition, or race with others. Make the goal of the challenge be to work out more, not weight loss. There are apps out there to challenge you to do more pushups, which literally takes five minutes per day.
Keep it fresh. If you have been doing the same exercise for a while and you’re getting bored with it, mix it up. Try a new exercise app or a workout class. This introvert LOVES her barre3 and yoga classes more than anything.
…but if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. If you’re totally into pumping iron, running long distances, or your daily yoga practice- right on!
Variety is the spice of life! I love barre3, yoga, hikes, walk, and the occasional TMAC video. And chasing after a toddler.
Get an activity tracker. Use it to create mini goals for yourself. Make it a game.
Focus on steps. Sure, we found out recently the 10,000 steps goal is made up, but you can create small goals for yourself. It’s a great way to track progress and challenge yourself.
Don’t focus on steps. If you’re into workouts that don’t amp up your tracker, don’t sweat it (pun intended).
Don’t focus on calories burned. This is a must. Yoga doesn’t burn a ton of calories, but it does so much for my strength, flexibility, and mindset. If you focus on the calories, use it to track progress.
Work out at home. If you’re a mom with kids, this is key. There are great apps and sites out there like Kait, barre3, and TMAC fitness. Most of them use little to no equipment.
Find your sweet spot in the day. Don’t force yourself to be a morning person if you’re not.
Don’t sacrifice sleep for a workout. Listen to what your body needs. You don’t need to over do it either.
Get some super cute new workout clothes.
Put your super cute workout clothes out the night before.
DANCE! In your kitchen or your living room, with a partner, in a class, in your PJs.
Find the Instagram accounts! I love @docjenfit and @strengthcoachtherapy for mobility exercises.
Check out some free trials for apps and commit when you’ve found what you like. There are so many out there!
Go outside for a walk.
Go outside for a hike.
Don’t go to the gym if you hate it.
Go to the gym if you love it.
Don’t run if you hate it.
Run if you love it.
Moral of the story- quit doing the workouts you hate. There is SOMETHING ELSE for you.
Swim. Bike. Run. Weights. Crossfit. Pilates. Barre. Yoga. There are so many options!
Scale it up! Maybe that plateau you’re seeing with results and the boredom means it’s time to level up.
Scale it down. Listen to what your body needs. What you need at 20 will be different than what you need at 45. If you’ve been on your feet all day and all you can manage is 15 minutes of stretching before bed- that counts! Movement does not need to be an all-out sweat fest to be effective.
Track your progress so that you can inspire and motivate yourself by seeing how far you’ve come.
Walk your dog.
Bike or walk to work.
Fuel your body before if you need to.
Fuel your body after if you need to.
Don’t quit after illness or a busy week. Take walks if you can. Get back in there when you feel better.
Keep it social. Bring a friend or family member.
Involve the kids. They need physical activity too. Make your family time active! It will teach them lifelong healthy habits.
Move mindfully. Be present with your body in that moment and truly appreciate what you’re doing for yourself.
Celebrate that your body is able to move in the way it currently can.