Getting back on the bandwagon - learning to love exercise is key to long term health and fitness
Now that it is February, are you still committed to those New Year’s Resolutions? If you’re finding your fitness lagging already, author Tina Murphy has some tips to put a spring in your step.
There’s nothing more disheartening than failing to reach your fitness goals, particularly if it seems like everyone around you hits the local crossfit gym every day before sunrise or is training for yet another marathon.
You’ll be pleased to know that there’s an easy way to get back on the wagon and make sure you stay on it, long after your friends have given up.
Here are my top tips to getting back on the bandwagon, and ensuring you stay there.
1. Be Realistic
Instead of setting yourself a very specific goal such as ‘run a 10k race by April’, set yourself two goals.
First is exercise (run/walk/go to gym, etc) twice a week.By all means, if you have the time and/or motivation do three times, do, but it shouldn’t be a chore.
This way, the weeks you do three sessions, you feel like you’re overachieving, which is much better than feeling like a failure when you ‘only’ managing to fit in two sessions.
2. Enjoy Exercise
This is the absolute key to sticking with it long term. The best way to learn to enjoy exercise is to start really easy, do not push yourself so much that it is unpleasant (that’s why you gave up before, right?)
Stick to an intensity that gets your heart rate up a little bit, while still being enjoyable, and slow down when you feel yourself starting to get uncomfortable.
3. One Step at a Time
Focus on each session, one at a time. Focus on the present moment. Don’t worry about how long it might take you to get to a 5k or whether you’ll ever be able to run around the whole block.
Instead, find something positive to enjoy right here, right now. Fresh air, the way your legs feel a little bit stronger than last week, the feeling of cold air on your face once you’ve warmed up, being out in the nature. There are tonnes of reasons to enjoy exercise though it might take a while to find them when you are first starting out and for this reason, it’s important to take it slowly.
4. Focus on the Instant benefits
When your motivation to exercise is a specific goal (such as losing weight or running a 10k) it can be hard to stay focused and motivated.
A far better reason to exercise would be to feel good about yourself every day, improve your moods, improve your sleeping, reduce stress, or increase energy.
Every time you go for a run or walk, find three things you enjoy or three reasons why you’re glad you got up and out the door today. You could even write these down after your run and soon you’ll have a long list of reasons to exercise that you can read through when you feel
like you’re losing your motivation.
5. Do it for YOU
You do not have to try to keep up with anyone else. Do not compare yourself to anyone else and don’t let anyone tell you that you should be doing more or going faster.
As long as you’re doing something, you’re doing great. You’re doing much better than you did before you started. There’s a good chance one day you will want to run a 5k or challenge yourself in some other way but for now, just remember to enjoy yourself and the fact that with every step, no matter how small, you’re getting a bit fitter.
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