We all know that exercise is important… every magazine in the store talks about it, your doctor mentions it, your family & friends comment about it. But hearing that does not always mean DOING it. Because when it comes down to it, actually deciding to fit movement into your life can be a challenge – not only to fit into a busy schedule, but also mentally. I hear so often that people want to exercise but either can’t find the time or can’t find the motivation to just do it. Because it can be hard, especially at first or after a long break.
In case you are new to all this, let’s quick talk about some of the great benefits of exercise.
- Builds muscle & increases strength
- helps burn more calories
- stabilizes your body/joints to help prevent injury
- allows you to do more activities & lift heavier things in everyday life
- strengthens your bones
- Burns calories in general but also helps boost your metabolism
- Releases endorphins that make you feel happy & good
- Increases cardiovascular fitness which gives you more endurance & strengthens your heart
- Boosts your energy, reduces anxiety, and helps you sleep better at night
- Supports healthy immune systems by improving
One of the biggest reasons I hear for no exercise is time. I get it, we’re busy people. Getting up early, working all day, and then coming home to make dinner, clean up, and still spend time with your family & friends can lead to a very full day. You can be left wondering WHERE any exercise will even fit in that schedule. In the end, it comes down to making things a priority.
I have found that if something is truly a priority for me, I find ways to make it happen. This might mean waking up 30-45 min earlier to do a short workout in the morning or it could mean hitting the gym or taking a walk on your lunch break. It could also be fitting in a quick workout on the way home from work, or doing a fitness activity with the whole family in the evening. Is there time to do a 30 min workout while the kids nap or after they are in bed? No matter what the time, it begins with making the decision that this is a priority and then taking the first step.
First steps don’t mean scheduling out an extensive 5-6 day/week workout plan. It means choosing one thing to implement 2-3 times per week. It might be a 15-20 min strength video in the morning, a 20 min walk at lunch, or a bike ride in the evening. Just start somewhere. By choosing an activity and making it a regular part of the schedule you are really winning (over) half the battle here.
Creating routine is so important to finding consistency in anything you do.
The other important step in all of this is to choose something you love to do.
If you absolutely hate to run, starting a running program is not likely going to lead you to keep at your workouts. They key is to pick something you really enjoy. Now of course many exercise options are not completely enjoyable when you’re first starting out. It can be hard and tiring and leave you sore. That’s to be expected, and is something you need to push through initially as your body adjusts. But find something you love… yoga, running, walking, pilates, HIIT workouts, biking, rowing, lifting, etc… Generally speaking, doing some movement is better than doing nothing. Ideally you want to be doing some kind of strength building exercise (like lifting weight or doing body weight strength) and you want to do some activity that brings your heart rate up a bit. But options for these can vary and there are lots of things out there to try.
I personally love lifting weights, HIIT workouts, yoga, walking, and hiking. We recently took a family vacation that brought us through a few national parks. One of my favorite activities in all of that was hiking the trails through the mountains and being in nature. It’s something I can do and not even feel like I’m exercising. I also love doing these things with others. I loved hiking with my husband and kids, and I also love meeting my friends at the gym for a fitness class. I call it my morning social time. 🙂
I really think that incorporating things you love to do and at times doing them with people you love to spend time with are key factors to finding the motivation to get exercise in. Especially if that involves waking up earlier than normal!