Exercise is good for you. We all know that already. Yet why do some of us fail to get any exercise at all. There is exercise information everywhere… there are people you admire with great bodies… there are clothes you want to fit into… there is that marathon you dream being a part of or a sport you know you love…then there are health issues that need to be addressed… but that’s it, you know it and you still wouldn’t do anything about it. Simply put failure to exercise is rarely a knowledge problem, it’s a motivation problem. So how can you set aside your excuses and actually motivate yourself to exercise… I’ll try answering it.
- No one I know likes being out of shape. No one wants to huff and puff after a flight of stairs, no one wants to get on a prescription, no one wants to struggle with activities, no one wants to feel inadequate. Dwelling on these isn’t fun exactly either. Most people turn to exercise either after a major health scare or when they feel fat and unattractive. Some decide to join a gym or get into a workout routine but as soon as they meet their goal, they flounder and stop. So whenever you think of why you want to exercise, also think about all the benefits of exercise you want to enjoy like looking younger, getting off prescription medication, being able to run with your kids, feeling more flexible and strong, etc. Write these down and post your reasons somewhere you can see every day… add and subtract the list as you wish.
- Exercising regularly isn’t about your feelings. I often hear people say that they don’t feel like exercising. You have to stop these feelings from ruling your actions. If you wait around for the right feeling it may never happen, much like love, success and all things good. You have to make it happen.
- Do not guesswork. If you know that you’ll find an excuse sooner or later to drop out and are convinced that exercise isn’t really your thing, go that extra mile to ensure you stay the course at the very beginning. Sign up for personal training, join a group fitness class or boot camp, get a workout buddy… there are several options available. Most important stay committed to yourself!
- Know that only you are responsible for your life, your actions and your fitness level. Ultimately no one else can take that responsibility for you. Don’t get bogged down by your daily routine. Of course you are busy, you have priorities, you are working through life’s challenges… all these barriers are real but the fact also remains that only you are responsible for whether you exercise today or not. If you are constantly making excuses for yourself, you are only failing yourself! It’s time to stop the mental negativity and find a way to just do it.
- Create a non negotiable workout schedule. At the very beginning, just aim for 10 to 20 minutes of planned exercise every day. It doesn’t have to be much… just a jog or a series of squats, lunges, pushups and some stretches. Creating a regular habit is critical to long term success. You don’t have to make it a tortuous and giant project, start simple. Start with 10 minutes every day!
- Keep the fun in what you do. Try a new class or something you always wanted to do. Buy new fitness gear, running shoes or get a new music playlist… work out with friends or alone… indoors or outdoors, with the help of a trainer or by yourself… the choices are all yours! If you don’t find something you enjoy doing, don’t give up, keep experimenting, keep on trying!
Sandesh Palungwa Limbu, Certified professional fitness instructor, founder of RAGE Fitness, and specialises in mixed martial arts.