Exercise. We all know it’s good for us and that we should be doing at least 3×30 minutes of it a week, and yet it’s not always so easy to motivate ourselves to actually DO it. So here are some of my top tips for enjoying your exercise.
1 – Choose something you actually enjoy!
If the exercise you’ve chosen to do is something you actually enjoy doing, then you’re far more likely to keep it up. For me it’s swimming. I absolutely love ploughing endlessly up and down the pool, it requires absolutely no thought on my part, so my brain gets the chance to switch off, and just focus on counting the lengths. This is the kind of mindstillness that works well for me, and I’ve honestly had some stellar ideas whilst swimming in this way! But I know many who find such an activity mindnumbingly boring, so it’s not for them. If classes are your thing, then try a few out to find the one you like. You can do almost any class from boxing to Zumba, HIIT to yoga. Finding your perfect activity, and connecting with the people who make up the class, will keep you attending. And then there’s always a sport. Tennis, netball, football, athletics, fencing – there are clubs out there for almost any sport that takes your fancy – just have a google! If the thought of leaving the house to exercise fills you with dread, then don’t! Use a fitness DVD, or follow along with some YouTube fitness videos in the comfort of your own home.
2- Have a reason for doing your chosen activity
Now this might sound obvious, as we all know it’s ‘good for us’, but that might be a little too vague to get you out of the house on a cold, dark winter evening after a tough day at work. You need to have a reason that’s strong enough to get you off the couch and out the door. Having a specific goal to aim towards can help; how about entering yourself into a race (doesn’t have to be a marathon), or entering a challenge at the gym or with a group of friends – after all competitiveness can be a strong motivator for some 🙂 Maybe think about doing a sponsored something – the sponsorship money will keep you going as you’ve now got others invested in your success, and there’s the public accountability too!
3 – Have realistic expectations
When we first start something new, we generally feel fired up, have loads of enthusiasm and feel ready smash all and any goals we are given or set ourselves. However the novelty can soon wear off, especially if we’ve done too much too soon. It’s important to remember that we’re after an activity that we can potentially maintain over a lifetime. It’s ok to play the long game here. Learning a new sport or skill can be tricky and frustrating, but chipping away at it slowly will lead to the results you want – whether that’s to run the marathon, lift a double decker bus or ace every serve. Make shorter term, achievable goals on the path to your ultimate one, and you’ll maintain your enthusiasm as you mark your progress.
4 – Rest
Rest is important, and related to point 3. When we start out we might decide we’re going to do our chosen activity/activities everyday. This can be the route to burnout, and injury. The body needs time to rest and recover from intense exercise, and if we don’t allow for this, then we can become injured, exhausted and fed up – and then we give up. Remember, we want to find an activity we enjoy, and stick to it for the long term, so plan in the rest days as well as the activity ones.
5 – Everyday exercise
Remember, exercise doesn’t have to be a dedicated stand alone thing. Walking is exercise – and a good one at that! Get off the bus/tram/train a stop earlier where possible, take the stairs rather than the lift or escalator, go out for a walk at dinnertime, get up every hour and have a walk around your office, purposely park your car further away from the supermarket/cinema/destination, or take the scenic route – and enjoy the view 🙂
Exercise is great for the body, but its benefits also extend to the mind. So if you’re feeling stressed, strung out, tired or you’re not sleeping well, then maybe have a think about the activities you used to enjoy, or always wanted to learn, and then go and give them a go.
I’m currently attempting to swim the equivalent of the channel over 12 weeks in my local swimming pool (didn’t fancy the goose grease, pooh dodging, cold water or ships of the actual channel!) to raise money for Aspire, a charity that helps support people with spinal cord injury. If you felt able to make a donation, I’d be very grateful. My just giving link is https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/kate-brown-2018-channel-swim-31823
Don’t forget to head on over to my Facebook page to see the video that accompanies this blog, http://www.facebook.com/mobilemassagetherapyuk
If you have a topic you’d like me to address in a future blog, do let me know 🙂
Photo by Jim De Ramos on Pexels.com