Many of us fear the dreaded “E” word. That’s right… Exercise.
We all grow up hearing about how important regular exercise is for our health and wellbeing, but a lot of us hate the idea of working out.
Why is that?
It’s almost magical what physical movement can do – like a one stop shop for things like…
- a better night’s sleep
- less depression
- reduced stress and anxiety
- brain power
- and oh yeah…reduced risk of disease.
But it’s just so easy to put it off.
Here’s the thing: There are a lot of ideas floating around that make working out kinda dreadful. “No pain, no gain” is one example. Too many people think that it’s not exercise if it doesn’t hurt. Or that if you don’t go “long enough” it doesn’t “count”.
Nope. And nope. Not true.
Others may see underrepresentation of people with their body type in the exercise industry (workout clothing brands, exercise program advertisements, and more are all guilty of this!) and it’s discouraging.
Plenty of people don’t like to run or spend hours in the gym lifting weights, so they give up on exercise without realizing that those are only two of the countless opportunities for fitting in some movement.
Regardless of what has gotten in your way of being consistent with physical activity, if you’re reading this it means you’re willing to try again.
We know how hard it can be to get started and we’re here to help. Take a look at these tips for a complete exercise makeover. And while we’re at it, let’s ditch the word exercise and replace it with movement. All movement “counts” and the best kind of movement is joyful movement – the kind that makes your body and soul happy.
Tip 1: Figure Out Your “Why”
Trying to do something challenging without knowing why you’re doing it is a recipe for disaster. The first step to getting into a routine with movement is figuring out why you want to do it in the first place.
Don’t ask yourself why you “should” do it, ask yourself why you “want to” do it! Do some research if you don’t know much about the many benefits of physical movement and pick a few changes you really want to see in yourself. Remember that moving your body doesn’t always change the way your body looks, though, so we challenge you to find other reasons that will motivate you to move, like these.
Tip 2: Don’t Overwhelm Yourself at the Beginning
Have you ever made a goal that’s too big for you to accomplish and failed because you felt too overwhelmed to even start? It sucks! Instead of doing that to yourself this time, start small with your goal.
Even though working out once or twice per week might not seem like enough, it can be a real challenge if you’ve gone a long time without any exercise at all. You can always build up to more movement in your week once you’ve gotten started! The same goes for the length and intensity of each workout.
If you want to start running but haven’t been on a run since high school (or have never been on a run before at all), it might be a good idea to start out with walking or walking inter-mixed with short little bursts light jogging.
Starting with small, achievable goals sets you up for success without overwhelming you!
Tip 3: Don’t Compare Yourself to Anyone But YOU!
Most of us have a bad habit of comparing ourselves to others, especially when it comes to our bodies or physical abilities. If you decide to work out at a gym or in a group, that tendency to compare yourself to someone else could really damage your confidence and make you want to give up on your goal.
We challenge you to instead compare yourself to your past self and become more motivated by recognizing how far you’ve come since you started. Try to remember that everybody and every BODY is different and has a different set of strengths and weaknesses, so the only person that you can compare yourself to is YOU!
Tip 4: Fuel Your Body
The science behind physical movement and how our bodies use energy can get pretty complicated, but if we put it simply: food = energy! It’s important to get plenty of nutrients before and after a workout to make sure that you are supporting your body to the best of your ability. The internet has tons of fun pre- and post-workout snack ideas, but we’ve included just a couple of our favorites here:
Pre-Workout Snack Ideas: greek yogurt with blueberries, apple slices with peanut butter, oatmeal with banana slices, or avocado toast.
Post-Workout Snack Ideas: chocolate milk, cheese and crackers, veggies and hummus, or fruit and cottage cheese.
Timing can be tricky, and requires some trial and error, but the take home message is this – don’t skip the snack! Your body needs it and the activity will be so much more fun if you have the energy to participate.
Tip 5: Find Something You Actually LIKE to Do
This is probably our MOST important tip. When people think of physical activity, they tend to think of running or lifting weights. But those aren’t your only options! Far from it, actually! I
f you’re looking for a cardio-based workout, anything that gets your heart rate up counts. That might be brisk walking, following a cardio workout video on YouTube, shooting some hoops, playing frisbee, skiing, softball, volleyball, martial arts, yoga, tennis, taking one of NAU Group Fitness’s cardio-based classes, or even dancing to your favorite songs while cooking dinner. For resistance training, there’s YouTube videos, band work, using your own body weight (like push-ups), weights, NAU FIT classes, NAU Rec Center classes…just to name a few.
Try anything and everything that sounds interesting, then after a little experimenting, narrow it down to a few that you really enjoy. Having fun always makes it easier to keep moving because you start to actually look forward to your workouts!
If you still need help getting started on this journey, schedule a session with a UCAN Health Coach today!