Physical exercise and I haven’t always had the most stable relationship. Of course I have always been the disloyal one; I would go through phases where I exercised consistently, but I also went through phases where I didn’t exercise at all. It can be tough and disheartening to find a workout regimen that works for you, but it’s possible and necessary. Here are some things I’ve personally learned on my roller coaster ride with exercise.
Doing something is better than doing nothing.
While you will see the best results by being consistent and pushing yourself, it’s better to make small conscious efforts to get exercise than to not do anything at all. In fact, walking burns five times as many calories as sitting, so spending 15 minutes going on a walk instead of in front of the TV is already putting you at an advantage. Then of course there’s all the clichés like taking the stairs instead of the elevator or parking farther away from the store so you have to walk longer, but hey, they’re only cliché because they work!
You don’t have to pay a dime.
If you don’t plan on being a professional bodybuilder or powerlifter, you don’t need a gym or fancy equipment to get the exercise you need. Bodyweight exercises are just as beneficial and can be very challenging, and there are plenty of free resources out there for you to utilize. My favorite classes I’ve ever taken are by a woman named Ali Kamenova on YouTube – she is absolutely amazing! Check out the plethora of exercise videos YouTube has to offer; there are all kinds of classes ranging from yoga to kickboxing to pilates, so you’re sure to find something. Pinterest also has a lot of great interval workouts, but personally I prefer having someone tell me (and show me) what to do!
Figure out what you enjoy doing.
Exercise doesn’t have to be torturous. If you find yourself feeling this way, it’s probably best to start small and find something you can tolerate. The best kind of exercise is when it doesn’t feel like exercise (at least for us lazy folk), so try and figure out what that means to you. Do you like to dance? How about going for a run? Do you need something to help you wind down, like yoga? Try a few different things and see if you can find something you’ll stick with.
Mix it up.
Don’t bore yourself to tears by doing the exact same thing every single time you work out. Not only are you risking becoming very disinterested quickly, but your body will get used to the movements and won’t progress as easily. I have my favorite yoga classes that I like to do, but I make an effort to mix in new ones regularly to keep myself motivated. My current routine consists of an alternating schedule: 3 days of yoga + 2 days of cardio interval training one week, and 2 days of yoga + 3 days of cardio interval training the next. Ok, I’ll admit that’s an ideal week, but it definitely keeps me on my toes regardless!
Make the time.
A lot of people think you have to dedicate a one hour block to exercise, and this is absolutely not true. If it works better to spread it out throughout your day, then do so! For example, I go on a quick walk every morning with my dog. When I come in, I pull up a 30 minute yoga video and do that. Once I’m off of work, it’s time to walk my dog again and we usually go for a longer one at night. And voila! There’s my hour’s worth of exercise. You can get a great workout in 15-30 minutes, but it’s all up to you to do it.
Don’t get discouraged.
Working out is hard. There are times when you feel fatigued and sore, but it eventually starts getting much more manageable. The moment you start focusing on feeling good rather than looking good, you’ll notice you progress much faster.