Everybody knows that they need to exercise. We’ve all been told, or acknowledged ourselves that doing more physical activity will help us in one way or another. Whether it’s to lose a couple of kilos, improve our blood pressure or blood sugar levels or to address an injury we’ve developed.
The benefits of regular physical activity are well known and not headline news to anybody. But, why is it so hard to start exercising and then stick to it, if we know that the benefits are so great?
Sometimes, it’s the case of trying to force a square object into a round hole…
There are many tips and tricks that I recommend to my clients on a daily basis to help them stick to their exercise program, but the 5 SIMPLEST and MOST EFFECTIVE tips are the ones below.
These can be implemented RIGHT NOW and help you get on, and stay on, the road to living the life you want and need.
1: Find What You Actually Enjoy
Did you know there are MANY forms of exercise that you can do to get you to the goals you want?
When told to exercise, our minds usually automatically think of long runs in the park, or lifting heavy weights at the gym. As beneficial as these things can be, they are not for everyone.
Finding exercise that you actually enjoy is the KEY to sticking to it. It shouldn’t feel like a chore, or something you have to force yourself to do. Experiment with lots of different ways of exercising and find what works best for you!
Here are a few ideas:
- Going for a walk around your block, park or favourite track
- Swimming (maybe an indoor pool will be best coming into winter)
- Joining a class – boxing, yoga, pilates, bootcamp, cycling class
- Doing some bodyweight exercises at home – YouTube has thousands of options for this
- Join a sporting team – available from 5 years old to open masters teams
2: Form The Habit
Now you’ve found something you like, the next step is making it a habit. The early days of this are the hardest, but like anything, the more you do it, the easier it becomes.
Find even the smallest amount of time in your day or week to slip it into your routine. Even 10 minutes at first is better than nothing. Over days and weeks, you’ll be amazed at how easy it’ll become to fit some exercise into your routine – you may even find your day doesn’t feel as good without it.
Start aiming for 2 or 3 days per week. You can easily increase this as this starts to feel like habit.
Some ideas to get you thinking include:
- Add a walk into your lunch break at work
- Head straight to your chosen activity IMMEDIATELY after work/school. We all know that once we go home we aren’t heading back out
- Add it to things you already do. For example, if you’re watching your child’s sports training or game, go for your walk at the park they’re at instead of waiting in the car
3 – Be Flexible
Acknowledging that there will be times you miss the mark is important, and you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself. Feeling like you have to get it 100% right from the start is a lot of pressure that generally makes people want to avoid exercise.
Being busy is a part of life these days, and not every day will go exactly to plan. Being flexible with yourself and your routine gives you that room to miss a day, but make it up the following. Don’t let missing your Monday session stop you for the rest of the week.
Some helpful tips for flexibility include:
- “Something is ALWAYS better than nothing” – if you don’t have the hour you’ve set, don’t skip the session altogether. Do what you have time or energy for. Doing something instead of nothing is an excellent habit to set and will put you on the road to long term success
- Alternate between different types of exercise if needed: Can’t get to the gym, try some exercises at home instead
- If you miss a session, find some time later in the day or week to make it up if possible
4 – Celebrate The Wins
The human brain works off a complex reward system. We respond well to positive feedback and acknowledgement of achievement. This doesn’t have to be in the form of someone telling you “great job”, but can be from ourselves.
All achievements (such as performing your first session, completing a full week of your routine, setting a new record or trying something new) should be celebrated. This will help reinforce the habit and help increase future motivation.
Some ideas for rewards include:
- Buy a new pair of shoes or clothing item when you hit a new record
- Celebrate a successful week with the food of your choice
- Use Netflix or video game as a reward AFTER you’ve performed your exercise
5 – Focus On Your “WHY”
Even with the best habit or routine, motivation can be hard to come by. Ask even the most dedicated fitness fanatics and they will tell you there are days they don’t want to do it. It’s a normal part of the process and it’s ok to feel like this.
Most of them will also tell you that focusing on the goal is the key to sticking with your routine, even when motivation is low.
On days that going for a walk is the last thing you want to do, ask yourself…” WHY do I need this?”
If your goal to reduce your blood pressure to prevent health problems and spend more precious years with your family? Is your goal to lose weight to improve your health? If your goal to improve your knee pain to allow you to play the sport you love and gives you that psychological reset?
Focusing on the WHY is a great way to boost motivation and stick to your routine. This is often the deeper reason behind the goal you’ve set.
Want To Know More?
This article was written by Precision Physio Exercise Physiologist Alex Magnussen, if you would like to know more, feel free to reach out to him or book an appointment with any Precision Physio Exercise Physiologist.
How Do I Book An Appointment?
We’re taking the health of our clients, members and staff very seriously and our preference would be for you to call to book an appointment so that we can make sure to explain our approach to keeping you safe. You can call any of these numbers to schedule a session:
- Precision Physio Concord: 02 9736 3950
- Precision Physio St Marys: 02 9623 2220
- Precision Physio Mt Druitt: 02 9188 2552
Evolving with the current environment, we are also now offering online appointments, meaning that we can support anyone who is unable to leave their home. Sessions are done via our state of the art Telehealth system and as long as you have a laptop or tablet with an inbuilt camera, or a phone with camera, we can help!
To learn more about online consultations, please call us on any of the numbers listed above.