Many people who exercise on a regular basis are fanatical about it. They love it. They wake up, go for a run, go to the gym, have mid-day workouts, or go to the gym after work, or even at midnight if they think it’s the right time for them to get there. And…. Then there’s me. Worked out years ago, sitting behind a desk today, and “think” about getting on the elliptical machine on the other side of my desk or “think” about making it to the gym. Once upon a time though, I was at the gym six to seven days a week, from 60 minutes up to three hours depending on the day.
I’m not a soccer player, I’m no longer a gym rat, but I know one thing, better physical health provides for better flexibility, a healthier heart, lungs, muscle retention and so much more. Not to mention potentially lower life insurance rates, while you increase your life’s longevity…
And, if you are not interested in sports, or the gym, it may be important for you to find something you like doing, even if it’s taking a walk a lunchtime for 20 minutes. Incidentally, walking for 20 minutes is just about a mile, give or take a handful of steps in either direction. Regardless of the activity, you partake in, it will benefit you in ways you cannot measure yet.
That said, here are a few ways to change the way you think about exercising.
- Just find a physical activity that you can enjoy. It could be taking a walk as mentioned earlier, swimming, going to the gym, and lifting weights. The key is to find something you enjoy and keep your mind off the exercise portion of it.
- Make sure you don’t quit by thinking you can run a half marathon your first week. Meaning, don’t set ridiculously lofty fitness goals. Start small. I’ll walk for 10 minutes. The following week, make it 15, the week after that, make it 20, and so on until you get to the goal you are comfortable with. By setting smaller incremental goals you feel as if you have achieved something, and your brain feels better about expanding to something larger.
- Buy the correct equipment, shoes, supplies, clothing, etc. Nothing is worse than starting your first week of walking in shoes that are not meant for the journey. Make sure you research and spend your money on the best accessories you need for the job. You don’t have to spend money on the top-of-the-line gear now, but you shouldn’t buy junk either… Your body will thank you sooner than later.
- How will you feel after you exercise? It’s important to be self-aware… At first, you may be tired, sluggish, etc. This is normal, as you may be asking your body to do things it is not used to doing, like moving, especially after the COVID lockdowns. It’s also important to not overdo it in the beginning so that you do not injure yourself, which will hamper any short-term goals you have in mind. You’ll eventually lose the sluggishness replacing that feeling with the endorphin rush of a post-workout high.
- Change the way you eat. This too might take time, but your body may actually start to crave more water, more leafy greens, vegetables, etc. Something happens to the brain and the body when you start to exercise. It starts to like those healthier foods. Don’t worry, you can still have the occasional cocktail, pizza, or wings… Just try not to do it every evening.
- Keep a journal. Nothing is more inspiring to someone than keeping track of their successes, and setbacks. It can help drive you forward when you’re not quite feeling it.
- My favorite though must be the music. Nothing motivates me more than an awesome Spotify, Pandora channel, or a playlist I created on iTunes to crush my workout. Many times I create a master workout playlist and just tap the shuffle button so it mixes it up but I still get to hear my workout songs on volume setting 10.
- And, drumroll, please!!!!!! The last item we recommend is to remember, you are beating down your body, you’re working to improve it. Your body is an amazing machine whether you are in or out of shape. It moves you from point A to B and helps you accomplish your job, simple and complex projects.
Take note that these points are not about grinding it out at the gym, and being miserable. They’re about finding what you can enjoy and making small changes, and as you improve, expand upon them. But the goal in the back of your head should be to improve your life, lifestyle, mobility, and strength. Everything else will fall into place as you continue on your journey.