It is universally accepted that exercise is beneficial for both your physical and mental health. Yet, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that only 20% of the population gets the recommended amount of exercise weekly. Why is this so hard? Why do so many people struggle to make regular exercise a part of their life?
If you are one of the 20%, there is no need for you to read this, just keep it up. However, if you are part of the 80% that doesn’t exercise regularly, this is for you. I will approach this as if I was your health coach.
It is important that we understand why. Do you understand the importance of regular exercise? If so, what’s getting in the way? Usually this boils down to one of three things – not knowing where to start, not having time (which generally means its not a priority), or you are just not motivated. Now be honest with yourself. What is it for you? What are the roadblocks and how can you remove them?
Unfortunately, many people do not make a change in their lifestyle until something life-threatening occurs such as a heart attack or another serious health issue. Please don’t let that be you. If you are reading this, then you have an interest in your health and I want to help.
Don’t depend on willpower alone
We all have a limited supply of willpower. If you depend on your willpower for too long, your tank will run low and eventually it will run out. Instead, find an activity you enjoy and make it part of your weekly routine. And, shrink the change; start small and have some success.
What’s your emotional goal
You must have an emotional goal for your health. A goal to stay in shape isn’t going to motivate most people. A goal “to be around for my grandchildren” is an emotional goal. “I don’t want to have another heart attack” is an emotional goal. What is you emotional goal?
Build a habit
Building a habit which includes exercise in your weekly routine is the best way to achieve long-term success because it requires little effort. It becomes a natural and normal part of your life. Creating a life-long habit of exercise will reap incredible health rewards, so here are some strategies to get you started.
- Find an slow cardio activity that you like such as walking or bicycling (indoor stationary bicycle is fine). Then start doing that activity three times a week for 15 to 20 minutes. When it feels good, increase the time and maybe try four times next week. Take it slow. The most important thing is that you get started and “do something.”
- Find a way to make it easy and enjoyable. I ride a stationary bicycle for 30 minutes three to four times per week. I like to spend that time listening to podcasts or reading. This makes the time go by quickly, I get my exercise in, and I learn something or catch up on my reading. It is effortless and I look forward to it.
- Think about whether you would rather exercise by yourself or in a group such as a class. I prefer alone but my wife prefers a group. Find what’s right for you.
- Use friend power instead of willpower. Find a workout buddy so you can support one another. Participate in a class, there are plenty of great exercise classes available in most communities if a group setting is best for you.
- Seek expert help if you need it. If you need help getting started, ask for it.
- Find the time of day that works best for you. Consider your schedule as well as your biological clock.
- Plan in advance. Planning helps to remove barriers. If you chose to workout early in the morning. Lay your clothes out the night before. Put the time on your calendar. Set reminders on your phone.
- Make it a family affair if possible.
- Start small. It will feel good mentally and physically. Then add to it.
For a more complete explanation on a good exercise routine, see the exercise section of the 21 Day Challenge. But for now, just get started. If you have questions or if I can help or encourage you, send me a note on the contacts form. I’ll be happy to respond.
You can do it. Live Healthy!! Let me know what works for you in the comments below.