We all know that exercise is good for us – it helps us lose weight and keep it off, lowers our risk of various diseases, energises us, lowers anxiety and depression… and just generally makes us feel great! So why are so few of us taking part in regular exercise?
It’s all in the mindset.
Think of the last time someone told you you had to do something – perhaps you had to submit a report at work, maybe it was an overdue bill you had to pay, or perhaps it was the overflowing basket of dirty laundry telling you to do some washing! When we have to do something, it becomes a chore, and chores aren’t fun.
We are constantly being told we should exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes a day to ensure a healthy heart and minimise our risks of disease. While this it true, being told we have to do it kind of takes out the fun in it, don’t you think?
So, without further ado, here are some tips to put the fun back in your workout.
1. Variety is the spice of life
You don’t need to be running or slogging at the gym for 30 minutes a day to get in a good cardio workout (unless that’s what you enjoy, in which case go for it!). The key to enjoying your workout and keeping it sustainable is to mix it up a bit. Why not try sticking some upbeat music on and dancing energetically for 30 minutes – you don’t need talent, all you need is the ability to throw your limbs around a bit! Guaranteed to elevate your heart-rate and give you a good laugh at the same time.
The following day try something different. We’re not about to suggest you get hit the town for parkour (our insurance wouldn’t cover it!), but do try new things and get creative!
2. Pencil it in…
Schedule a time for your workout and stick with it. Consistency is key to forming long-lasting, healthy habits and getting into a routine is the best way to do this. Get your workout gear ready in advance so there are no obstacles or reasons to skip out. Once you’ve got into a good routine your workout will become as natural as taking a shower or having a morning coffee.
3. Break it up
Have a couple of rest days every week and don’t over do it. It’s common to go full pelt when you first start a new exercise routine, while your motivation levels are at a peak, but this isn’t sustainable and can result in burnout. Take it a step at a time, gradually increase the intensity of your workout, and make sure to include rest days. It gives your body a chance to recover and rest as well as preventing it from feeling like a chore.
4. Pump up the volume
Do you ever stride down the street with ear buds in, each step in time with the music like you’ve got your own personal soundtrack? No?! Well, exercise is way more fun when done to a sound track. Sticking on your favourite music keeps you motivated for longer, helps maintain a high energy level, and just makes your workout more enjoyable.
5. Enlist a friend
Pairing up with an exercise buddy can give your regime a serious boost, not to mention making it more enjoyable. Studies show that people who workout with their spouse are 5 times more likely to exercise. If you don’t have a significant other, buddying with a friend will still increase your likelihood of sticking to your workouts and adds accountability meaning you’re less likely to skip out!
6. Get some air
Nature is incredibly therapeutic, get outside and take in the sights. It’s infinitely more enjoyable than being stuck on a treadmill and has so many positive effects on the mind including decreasing stress, anger, depression, as well as being energising. An hour long hike can burn over 500 calories.
And finally, go easy on yourself if you do miss a workout (or three!), beating yourself up over in will only create negative associations with exercising. Try to learn from slip ups and use them as an opportunity to look at what went wrong and adjust your routine accordingly – if it’s feeling like a chore mix it up and try something else. And remember, we are only human and off-days are part and parcel of that!