How to Exercise in a Way That’s Right for You
Another day goes by of prepping the kids for school, getting yourself to work or ticking off that seemingly endless list of chores around the house or errands around town, feeding the family, maybe checking in with some friends, reading a book or watching your show if you’re lucky… now it’s time to prep the kids for bed and at this point you need some downtime before getting (often not enough) sleep. Where do you add your exercise?
Finding forms of exercise that work with your lifestyle, schedule, and preferences can help build in this well-being essential to your routine. If the gym makes you feel nervous or it’s far away from your house, you’ll probably talk yourself out of it more often than you’d like. If running hurts your knees and you can’t stand that feeling of lactic acid build-up, you’ll probably skip a few of those runs you planned on doing after work. Finding the right exercise for you can help include a healthy amount of physical activity into your days, even if it’s not how you may have pictured.
Opt for incidental exercise wherever you can
Let exercise come to you. Take the stairs instead of the lift. Take a walk while making phone calls. Get off the train a stop early or park your car slightly further away to walk the rest.
Taking opportunities to move your body, even in gentle ways, is better for you than choosing the sedentary options every time. Remember to take your stand breaks and step away from your desk!
Is the motivation to get started your biggest hurdle? Join a club or team or sign up for classes
The biggest obstacle to working exercise into your day can be making the time for it. If you sign up for classes or team sports, you know ahead of time when to make yourself available. If you’ve pre-booked and especially pre-paid, it can be that extra push to ensure you attend. Plus, groups and teammates can help keep you accountable and add social incentive to see your friends!
Do something that easily fits in with your schedule
Choose an activity that fits into your time slots. Joining a gym? Opt for one with the least amount of travel time required. Only have 30 minutes on your lunch break? Try walking, yoga, or something gentle enough that you don’t need to add extra time to shower or change afterwards. Feel exhausted come night time? Start slowly making your wake-up time earlier for an at-home workout in the morning (bring your sleep time earlier as you go so you’re not losing sleep). Got an hour to kill while the kids are at gymnastics? Bring your sneakers and go for a walk or run before you need to pick them up.
Working toward a specific goal can help with the mental barriers to exercising. Aiming to increase your reps or the weight on your deadlifts before the end of the month might get you in the gym an extra time or two along the way. Trying to reduce how long it takes you to run 5km could push you into some extra practice. Try setting goals with a friend – who can learn the most yoga poses in a month? Remember to keep your goals inspiring without pushing you to overwork or strain yourself in a dangerous way.
Speak with a professional about any limitations or injuries you have
Maybe choosing exercises is hard because you have a restriction on your movement. A doctor can help suggest some safe exercises or refer you to a specialist like a physical therapist. In many states in Australia, your GP can give you an Enhanced Primary Care plan to support you with ongoing health issues; you can nominate five free sessions with a health professional of your choice, so you might be able to get free advice about how to stay fit despite your shoulder injury, weak ankles, or other limitation.
Consider your priorities: strength, flexibility, endurance or rehabilitation
What’s the most important outcome for you from exercise? Do you want to increase endurance so you can run around with the kids? Do you wish you were more flexible and less stiff? Do you want to improve your strength and posture? Different exercises target different types of fitness, so speak with your doctor about your goals. Or, if it’s within your means, consult a personal trainer.
Some is better than none
Don’t grow distracted by an all-or-nothing attitude; if you’ve missed out on your chance for a 30-minute workout today, try to squeeze in five minutes. If you didn’t get into the gym yesterday as you planned, try going the following day. Don’t be disheartened by setbacks. Try to maintain the attitude that any exercise you do benefits your health.
When it all feels a bit overwhelming, grant yourself a moment to stop. Breathe. Take RESCUE Remedy®to find your natural centre. Feeling like you’re all out of energy more often than you’d like? Improve your sleep with RESCUE Sleep®.
Try choosing one of these forms of exercise to add to your schedule over the next week:
- Climbing/ bouldering
- Team sports
- Weight training
- Ultimate frisbee