With our increasingly hectic schedules and various commitments, finding the time or motivation to exercise can be difficult. Unfortunately, it is often the case that when we get busy, physical activity is the first thing to go out the window, leaving us feeling lethargic and lazy.
Avoiding this slump and making exercise a habit is really important. Physical activity is essential to our health and well-being, helping to reduce stress, improve mental health and keep our bodies healthy and strong. It has a huge number of benefits, and experts recommend to try and fit in a minimum of 30 minutes of activity per day.
While this may seem hard to start with, it can definitely be done with some effort and planning. Here are a few tips to help you make exercise a daily habit and a natural part of your day.
Remember exercise doesn’t have to be in the gym
One of the mistakes people make when they think about exercising is assuming that it has to take place in a gym or an organised setting. Exercise should be seen as any form of physical activity you do – be it thoroughly cleaning the house, walking the kids to school/ yourself to work, cycling on the weekend – all of these activities count, as you exert energy and exercise your body. As soon as you begin to factor in walking, hiking, sports, at home work-outs etc; you’ll be free of the idea that you have to sweat it out in a gym to get any of the benefits.
Make it convenient
One of the key things to acknowledge is unless you make exercising convenient for you, it will never become a habit.
One sure-fire way of making it a habit, is incorporating it into your daily routine. For instance, investing in a bike and cycling to work, or getting off the bus or train early and walking the last few miles. Put yourself in a position where exercise becomes unavoidable and built into your daily routine.
Of course, for some people going to a gym or group class is the best way to keep them motivated. Choose a gym or studio that is close to either your home or work – if it’s accessible and easy to incorporate into your usual route, you are definitely more likely to go regularly. If you’d like to see where your local David Lloyd Club is, then you can do so by clicking here.
Choose a form of exercise that you enjoy
Exercise shouldn’t feel like a chore that you hate doing – if you’re forcing yourself to slog it out for an hour on a treadmill when you hate running, your chances of consistently motivating yourself to do it are low.
There are so many different ways of exercising – dancing, tennis, team sports, yoga – the variety is endless, and the chances are that there will be one thing that you love doing. Get into a sport or class that you really enjoy, and you won’t ever feel like you’re having to make a conscious effort to exercise again. Similar to the old saying ‘choose a job that you love, and you’ll never work again’, choose a form of physical activity that you enjoy, and you’ll never dread exercise again.
Commit yourself to a friend or a club
If you struggle to motivate yourself, and make excuses to put off exercise, it may be helpful to make regular plans to meet a friend for a session, or join a club. This will make you accountable, and mean that the next time you don’t feel like going, you know you’ll be letting down a friend or group and not just yourself.
Exercising with other people can also act as a good motivator as a little bit of friendly competition will help push you.
Set attainable goals so you don’t get discouraged and give up
One mistake people often make when starting a new exercise regime is setting unattainable goals that take a very long time to reach. The failure to then meet these goals quickly causes discouragement and a loss of motivation and effort.
You need to be realistic when setting your goals – be honest with yourself about how fit and strong you are to begin with, and how much time and effort you’ll be able to commit to exercising. Set yourself small, manageable goals instead, and you’ll feel great pride and satisfaction as you tick them off. This will then be hugely motivating and will help keep you on track to forming a habit.
Be aware of your body
When forming a new habit, you’re encouraged to keep going as you see progress and results. When it comes to exercise many people set weight-loss as a sign of progress – however, it’s important to remember that it usually takes around two months to see a noticeable difference in your body. Patience is key!
It is much better to look out for and be aware of the many other ways in which exercise is benefitting you. For example, indicators such as better sleep, more energy, increased alertness. All of these improvements are tangible signs of how your new routine is helping you, and will motivate you to keep going.
If you’re looking for a way to keep physically active and make exercise a habit, David Lloyd Clubs offer a wide range of exercise classes, racquet sports, swimming pools, personal training and more to choose from. Click here to find your local club and enquire now.