How to move from inactivity to activity. A step by step approach.
Exercise is not everyone’s favorite thing to do, but the benefits of exercise impact multiple areas of our lives and we should therefore make every effort to do the best we’re capable of doing.
Regular exercise improves energy levels, but it can be a bit of a catch 22 situation in the beginning because many people say they’re just too tired to exercise. Inactivity exacerbates fatigue so for an improvement in our energy levels we have to get moving.
I think we need to approach exercise from a completely different angle and have a change of mindset to accompany it.
If you picture exercise to be a slog then it’s unlikely that you will sustain any exercise or activity routine, but if you think about it in a different way you’ll be amazed at how imaginative you can become.
So, How do you start getting more active?
- Look at exercise as part of your self-care routine
- Gather some supporters who are at the same level as you. There’s nothing like an accountability partner when we try to create new habits
- Think of fun ways to move your body. Exercise can take the form of dance, skipping, jumping on a trampoline, or walking in nature
- Think about the health benefits and the long-term improvements that making movement part of your day will bring
Taking the first step is the hardest, but before you know it it becomes part of your new routine. It takes about 21 days to create a new habit, so be aware that it will take time to adjust and decide up front to give yourself the time to create a new routine.
How do you get yourself moving if you are not currently active?
Decide on something you feel capable of doing
The average person can start by walking or swimming but riding a bicycle – either stationary or a moving one, gardening and housework are other ways to move. If you spend a lot of time sitting, you can use terra bands or tin cans to create resistance and you can do some exercises from your chair.
Set realistic exercise goals
This might mean that you just have to make the choice to do things differently. If you are already moving, it may be that you need to decide on the next level of movement to increase your fitness. A goal without a plan is just a wish, so be intentional. Write it down, diarize it or ask one of your friends or family members to check in on you.
When starting anything new, start slowly. It’s no good doing something with great gusto and then hurting yourself or tiring yourself out. This will set you back and is not sustainable.
This is literal and figurative. Once you’ve managed to achieve your first goal, set yourself a new, more difficult goal. Stretching is an important part of movement so once you’ve done some exercise make sure to stretch your muscles. Stretching improves flexibility and releases stiff muscles. Exercises such as yoga and pilates include stretching in their routines and are very good for the average person because they work multiple muscle groups and strengthen core muscles.
Give yourself healthy rewards
Avoid rewarding yourself with food. Rather think about buying new clothing to exercise in or put money in a jar towards something you’d really like. Self-care rewards like going for a beauty treatment, or spending time with a friend are also good ways to treat yourself.
Our bodies are designed for movement, let’s move them in a way that supports wellbeing, improves our mood and keeps us healthy.
Listen to my interview with Brad Kirsten from Radio Cape Pulpit on 1 April 2021 to learn more.
Listen to my next interview on Thursday at 7.45am