We can discuss motivation all day. But how does it work in practice? The idea of getting out of bed each day to exercise doesn’t appeal to most. Especially if you’re a beginner. Check out our handy video for some quick advice, otherwise read on for more info!
Yes, exercise can be daunting. So, here’s tip #1 – take it easy. Don’t put pressure on yourself. No-one’s expecting miraculous lifting feats or back-to-back marathons. Despite being impressive, such achievements are often counterproductive to your health anyway.
The Most Important Thing
Find something you enjoy. Without question, this is essential. Especially if fitness is to be a consistent habit in your schedule.
You probably lots of advice from ‘experts’ saying, “Oh, you must do cardio. You must lift weights. You must go running, swimming. Blah, blah, blah.”
Find something you’ll stick to. The best exercise program is the one you’ll have fun completing. Especially if you’re a newbie (or returning from a long break), your body will benefit merely from moving in different ways. Worry about the technical stuff later.
If you’re hardcore and have the money for a personal trainer, that’s often the best place to start. And you’ll probably get the fastest results. But if you’re like most people, you probably don’t want to commit just yet. Which means you need another way.
A Few Questions to Ask Yourself
It may take time to discover what you enjoy. So here are a few suggestions:
- What did you enjoy doing as a kid? Did you play any sports at school? If you did, find a local club and start again. It doesn’t need to be competitive.
- How are your friends staying fit? If you’ve got a friend who loves staying active, ask for their help. If they complain about you slowing them down, they’re probably not a good friend…
- What do you do on holiday? No, really. If you have fun swimming or hiking, why not return home and carry on?
- Have you tried a group class before? If you’re not interested in weights, you can always try something else – Zumba, Pilates, Yoga, or spin are all good options.
By Yourself or Part of a Group?
Think about whether you’d prefer to exercise by yourself, or as part of a group? Many people prefer to be part of a group – you meet friends, motivate each other and you’re with each other through a journey.
CrossFit, group fitness and certain team sports have exploded in popularity recently. It’s likely because of the camaraderie involved when enduring challenges with others.
Even fitness apps now let you share your progress with people. You may find it useful for holding you accountable.
Equally, exercising by yourself can be effective. More flexibility, autonomy and freedom to choose what you’ll do. You can find many free workout programs online (quality will vary!) or you can set off for a run, swim or cycle. Walking is another great option people often forget.
It’s also worth considering outdoors vs. inside. Outdoor exercise can be magnificent when the weather’s nice. Especially when most of us spend our days inside, it’s great to get fresh air. It’s probably best to vary by season. After all, you’ve got to be hardcore to train outside in the depths of winter!
A few points to remember and take home:
- Start small. You don’t need to set absurd challenges or unrealistic expectations.
- Find something you enjoy. Why do things you don’t like. It’s silly. Exercise is hard enough, pick something you can stick to.
- Change your routine over time. Your body adapts eventually. Keep it guessing. There are many variations to the same form of exercise – we’ll explain another time.
- Ask for help. There are many people willing to help you. You may have to pay for some, others are cheap, a few are free. Keep in mind the person you ask needn’t be an expert, merely someone who’s a little ahead of you.