Exercise is vital to maintaining a healthy body and mind:controlling weight, preventing disease, slowing the ageing process, improving mood and promoting better sleep habits.
But it’s finding that motivation to get up, get going and develop an exercise habit that sticks that is the hard bit. And for many it can seem to be impossible. Wanting to exercise and actually doing it are two very different things especially if negative feelings of self esteem and body image are involved.
These are my go-to strategies for making exercise a part of your life.
Develop a ritual. Get your exercise gear ready the night before so it’s there staring at you as a visible reminder to ‘just do it’. I keep my trainers by the kitchen door.
Plan to exercise at the same time every day and keep that slot sacred. This way you start to develop that all important routine and consistency. Even the shortest of exercises can stimulate you making you open to building your fitness levels. That first step is vital and will start you on the road to reaching your goal. When it’s time – move! Don’t sit and think about it. That simple act of motion will have a positive effect.
Exercise for 30 consecutive days. If you can do that then your brain and body will have subconsciously committed to the routine and it becomes ‘what you do’.
Accountability. Tell a friend what you are trying to achieve so they can champion you. Use technology which reminds you to exercise, tracks your efforts or connects you with others trying to complete similar goals.
Reward yourself. Any good habit can be helped by reinforcement. Find a way to make your post workout routine a bit special or reward yourself with a healthy snack. Reward systems are powerful tools to create the internal motivation you need to keep on keeping on. So every time you finish exercising, stick a £ in a jar towards that new FitBit.