If doing more exercise has been on your “to do” list since – oh, perhaps last New Years Eve – then its time to get started. Here are five tips for tearing yourself away from watching re-runs of The Biggest Loser and getting yourself outdoors and into an exercise habit.
1. Get the simple gear. Have you ever caught yourself thinking that you couldn’t possibly start going to the gym until you bought yourself the latest and greatest designer gear, so that you’d “fit in”? Or that you couldn’t start walking in the mornings until you got around to buying a new tracksuit? They are just excuses! Exercise clothes cost very little nowadays. Provided you have a comfortable pair of shoe, a pair of shorts and top, you’re ready to go.
2. Make a regular time do it. Beyond having the “right” clothes, having the time is another common excuse. Again though, an excuse is all that it is. Decide on the time of day that suits you best (are you a morning or evening person?) and work out a schedule that fits it in. Can you do for a walk or run in the mornings and start work a bit later, for example? Or star work earlier and finish in time to hit the gym? How about lunchtimes? Even a fast walk around the block in your lunch hour is better than nothing. Block out regular exercise time in your calendar and stick to it.
3. Start slow. You don’t need to be front row of a cross-fit class, or swimming twenty laps of the local pool, straight away. Why not build your exercise plan up slowly, starting with a fairly gentle walk and building up from there. As you get fitter, you’ll be able to pack more into the time you’ve allocated.
4. Do something you enjoy. Irrespective of whether you subscribe to the “no pain, no gain” view, there’s really no sense in being bored while you exercise. So choose a sport or activity that you genuinely enjoy to get your new exercise habit kickstarted. It might be putting on the earphone and heading out for a walk or run, going to the gym with some friends, playing tennis or squash or getting in some laps of the pool.
5. Be accountable. So you’re going to start your new exercise routine today – now tell everyone about it! Making a public announcement about your private exercise goal is a great way to keep yourself accountable. Tell your friends and colleagues to keep reminding you about it, to keep asking you whether you’ve done in and if not – to ask you why not. The continual nagging will get to you and soon it will be easier to do the exercise that field the constant questions!
One final tip – procrastination goes hand-in-hand with inactivity. So the best time to start your new exercise plan is right now. Stop reading this – and get going!