Exercise is a significant part of a healthy lifestyle. We all know it. Yet, some of us struggle to make exercise something we do daily. We always seem to come up with excuses: “I don’t have time,” “I’m too tired,” “I can’t do it”…
I used to be the type of girl who would always come up with excuses not to move. I would always choose the lazy way out. Never in a million years would I have thought I’d one day be the type of girl that’s always active and on the move.
But I did become that girl, and I’m so glad I did! The day I made exercise part of my life was the day everything changed for me. I became strong, healthy, and confident.
There are many benefits of exercising regularly, both physically and mentally. To reap those benefits, there’s no need for hours and hours of strenuous exercise, nor repeating a routine you hate day after day.
Exercise can be fun. It can be something you turn into a habit and you can make it an integral part of your lifestyle.
6 TIPS TO MAKE EXERCISE PART OF YOUR DAILY LIFE
Here are my top tips for making exercise a sustainable part of your daily routine:
FIND A WORKOUT YOU ENJOY
First and foremost, exercise should be something you like doing. And very much like in any relationship, you may not fall in love with it right away. Especially if you have been sedentary your whole life, it will take some time for your body and mind to get used to it.
Making exercise part of your daily life takes work and, therefore, you should find workouts you actually enjoy in order to stick to it.
There are so many options out there, if you’re thinking right now “but I hate exercising, there’s no way I can ever enjoy it” you are expressing what is known as a limiting belief. Limiting beliefs are assumptions you have about the world and yourself that hold you back from achieving your full potential.
You have to reframe the way you think. You may not have been able to enjoy exercising up until now but that doesn’t mean that will forever be the case. That doesn’t mean you hate all forms of exercise. I used to say I hated exercise but now I workout every single day, not because I have to but because I genuinely love it.
Be open-minded and try new things. Yoga, Pilates, running, tennis, dance, even just walking… Really, there are so many options!
Exercise doesn’t have to make you sweat like crazy or be super intense to be effective. In fact, only 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week can improve your health, as explained by the CDC. That’s only 30 minutes per day, 5 days a week!
Moderate exercise can be a brisk walk, dancing, gardening, yoga, weight training… or any other activity along those lines.
Start by making it a goal to move your body for only 30 minutes per day, and work your way up from there. You don’t want to dive in and burn out, you want to make it sustainable and enjoyable. So take baby steps.
Pro tip: Moving more daily can be achieved easily by taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking farther away from your building, walking/biking to the store, going for a walk during your lunch break, stretching when you’ve been sitting for too long, etc. Be creative and you can come up with hundreds more ideas!
Slow and steady wins the race, as they say.
DON’T MAKE EXCUSES
A loophole to watch out for is the tendency to make excuses for the wrong reasons. There will be days when you don’t feel like working out. Sometimes that’s justified (like, if you’re sick). But, if it’s just an excuse, power through “not feeling like it” and do it anyway.
To make exercise part of your daily life, you have to have discipline. Discipline is something you build over time. It can be trained. Just like your muscles will get stronger by repeating a motion, your sense of self-control works the same way. By exercising even when you don’t necessarily feel like it, you will turn the action into a habit and soon, you won’t even have to think about it twice to get started.
So, on days it is particularly difficult for you to find the motivation, make it a goal to just work out for 5-10 minutes only. That’s it, just a few minutes. Starting is often the hardest part. Once you start, you’ll find it’s easier to keep going.
That being said, make sure you also rest properly. Not resting enough can lead to injuries and that’s the last thing we want! Just be mindful of the difference between resting because you need to and resting because you’re feeling lazy.
DON’T TRY TO BE SOMEONE YOU’RE NOT
Avoid comparing yourself to others. You are on your own path and your progress is your own!
You will always meet people stronger than you, or better at a certain sport/activity than you. If you start comparing yourself to them, it will only bring you down. Think of how far you’ve come instead. Think of what you’ve accomplished. Being the best version of yourself is all you need to focus on.
You can look up to others as a source of inspiration but be careful not to let unrealistic expectations dim your motivation. You’re simply working to make improvements from where you were at yesterday.
MAKE SURE YOU GET ENOUGH SLEEP
One of the most important things to make exercise part of your daily life is to make sure you get enough sleep. The better you sleep, the more energy you’ll have, the more motivated to workout you’ll be.
Conversely, exercising also helps you sleep better. Win-win!
As we’ve mentioned before, most adults should aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night.
MAKE IT CONVENIENT
The more convenient it is to start working out, the easier it’ll be to actually do it. If you go to a gym that is located one hour from your house, chances are you’ll skip going very often. On the other hand, if the gym is located 10 minutes away, it’s a lot harder to come up with a good excuse.
Maybe what works for you is putting your yoga mat out the night before so it’s within eyesight first thing in the morning, maybe it’s following home workouts videos you can do anywhere, maybe it’s going to a fitness class that’s held next to your workplace so you can go when you leave work.
In other words, set yourself up for success.
Making exercise something you do every day will help you be happier, more confident, stronger, and it will help you feel empowered. It should be a priority in your life.
And it will never be said too much: regular exercise has to be something you enjoy doing! And it very much can be. All you need is a bit of will, patience, and experimentation.