Most of us know the benefits of exercise to some extent, yet most of us don't engage in nearly enough physical exercise. Here are some common reasons we hear in practice that hold people back from exercising:
I don't have enough time
I don't have the energy
Sports aren't really my thing
It's too expensive
The list goes on and on, but these are the most common. Each of these can easily be worked around, it just takes the right mindset and motivation to do so. Exercising can actually help with aches and pains, exercising has been shown to increase energy levels, going for a run or doing body weight exercise at home costs no money, and if sports aren't your thing try yoga, weight lifting, water aerobics, or walking. Still not convinced, here are 5 tips that can help you get started and increase your motivation to get moving!
1. The Science
Exercise has proven and vast benefits on your health and well-being. Improving your cardiovascular fitness (how efficient your heart is working) can improve blood pressure, promote healing, and better mental functioning to name a few. The release of endorphins and the natural high you experience when exercising has also been shown to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. Building strong muscles and joints will also help reduce pain and fatigue while keeping you moving longer and enjoying life. The science behind exercising is not up for debate, it's out there and it's clear!
2. Set SMART Goals
SMART is an acronym for setting goals that you'll actually adhere to and complete.
S - Specific, keep your goals focused, not too vague and not too many at one time.
M - Measurable, have a way of measuring your target to monitor progress and completion (inches off your waist, distance of a run, pain levels etc.).
A - Agreed upon, make yourself accountable, tell other people your goals. This step is almost like a self-contract to not letting yourself down.
R - Realistic, don't set unrealistic goals. As a first time exerciser you wouldn't set out to complete a marathon in the first month of training, that's just asking for failure.
T - Timely, setting a proper time in which to achieve the goal. This comes with some practice but trying to achieve a goal too soon and you won't reach them and feel discourage while pushing it back too far can leave you procrastinating.
3. Use a Fitness Tracker
Apps on your phone, FitBit bands on your wrist, or old fashioned fitness journals on your desk are all good ways to keep track and motivate yourself. Most of these apps or devices set goals internally and they are very easy to monitor and work towards. They also have reminders which alert you to get off the couch and get in those steps!
4. Find What You Enjoy
If you are new to exercise, trial and error may be the best bet here. Not all of us are open to joining a running group, soccer team, or hitting the weights at the gym. Find what you enjoy doing and feel like a kid again doing it. The more you enjoy the activity, the more likely you'll keep doing it. Even walking and enjoying the sights and sounds has great health benefits. Exercise should not be a chore or a punishment.
5. Exercise In Groups
Evidence has shown that those who exercise in classes or groups have higher adherence to a program. The social aspect makes the activity very enjoyable and the fact that others may rely on you or expect your attendance will keep you from skipping out on your session. Exercise groups can also act as a support group, it is likely you aren't the only one that would rather be at home watching Game of Thrones, help each other and push through it!
Simply put, exercise is great for you for too many reasons to count, but getting started is no doubt the hardest part. Find what you like doing, set some goals, and give it a chance. It takes about 21 days to form a new habit, don't give up too easily your future self will thank you for it!
Share with someone you know that could benefit from a little exercise.