Making Exercise a Priority
Reading the title of this, you may immediately scoff at the notion of making exercise a priority. Maybe you’ve made an attempt in the past and soon gave up on the idea. You have enough priorities, right?
You may have family, friends, and pets to care for, a job and finances to attend to, and basic needs to address such as eating and sleeping. You can’t really ditch these responsibilities because they’re important.
But here’s the thing. Getting some sort of regular movement every day is just as important. So why is it that exercise isn’t on your list of priorities?
“I’m Just Too Busy”
The stock answer as to why folks don’t prioritize exercise is that they’re just too busy. It’s probably your answer too. Even if exercise makes your priorities list at the beginning of the day, it’s often the first thing crossed off when time becomes a challenge.
You may, at this point, have consigned exercise to the “I’d do it if I had time” list – along with vacuuming behind the furniture, cleaning out the interior of your car, and painting your bedroom a new color. (Insert your own list.)
But if you truly want to make exercise a regular part of your life, you can’t think of it this way.
Change Your Mindset
Reframe regular exercise as something that’s not merely optional. Instead, regard it as something as important as paying your electric bill, fueling up your car, or giving your body nutrition. In fact, exercise is another way to give your body the sustenance it needs.
Exercise keeps your muscles toned, your joints mobile, and your heart healthy. It also burns calories to keep your body trim and your systems performing at their optimal output. As such, try to see exercise as an activity that’s as vital as eating.
But how do you more easily adopt this mindset?
Treat your designated times to exercise as appointments that you can’t cancel. Schedule them into your weekly or even monthly calendar to allot adequate time. Then make them non-negotiable.
And avoid the temptation to see it as time you’re wasting. If you allow yourself to become overweight and unfit, you’ll be wasting much more time trying to get even the simplest of tasks completed. Plus, there are ways to combine your exercise with other activities.
For example, each time you’re on your phone, walk around to get in some more steps. And if you’re behind on your email, posting on social media, or the latest TV show, you can take care of these while on the exercise bike or treadmill.
Once you’ve made the commitment to regular exercise, consider the following:
1. Set Realistic Goals
It’s normal to feel completely stoked after making a commitment. But if you come out of the gate too fast, you’re going to burn out. So be reasonable about your exercise goals when you first start.
For example, saying you’re going to take a 6am fitness class every day Monday through Friday may not be practical at the beginning. And then that first time you don’t make one of the 6am classes, you’ll feel guilty and less inclined to stick with the routine.
Instead, maybe start with one or two early morning classes. Then go from there. Which brings us to the next recommendation…
2. Start Slow
Lofty goals aren’t inherently bad. You may well be motivated by keeping your eye on those five 6 a.m. classes down the road.
But in the meantime, as you ease into your new routine, allow yourself to build momentum slowly and steadily. On days when you’re not actively at the gym, engage in some movement you enjoy. Maybe take a weekly brisk afternoon walk with a friend and use it as a time to stay connected with one another.
Regularly playing with your kids or pets, taking a parking spot farther from the door, or riding your bike to the market rather than driving are all great ways to exercise. Activities such as these will allow you to adapt to more regular movement without getting bored and wanting to give up.
And remember that the time commitment doesn’t have to be major. You might start the first week exercising in 15-minute increments. Then build it it up to 20 minutes the next week. Eventually, you’ll find a rhythm that works for you.
3. Avoid the Rut
Another way to keep regular exercise interesting is by not hitting a fitness plateau. This is what happens when you get bored with the same routine/exercise regimen and then just want to give it up.
So if we continue using the regular 6 a.m. fitness classes as a goal, there’s a chance you will eventually find this routine dreary or predictable. If you’re willing to alternate those fitness classes with yoga, mat and/or reformer Pilates, swimming, weight training, etc., you’re more likely to stay inspired.
Again, even just heading out the door for a quiet walk or bike ride around the park can be a great way to reset and keep your workouts interesting.
4. Reward Yourself Upon Reaching Goals
Have you been eyeing new leggings, shoes, or other gear for your workouts? Maybe on those days after a hard workout, you’ve thought about treating yourself to a massage.
Consider setting some goals in your workout with the express intention of rewarding yourself once you achieve them. Rewarding yourself is effective in delivering incentive and motivation. Of course, the reward should b a good return on investment. Eating an entire pie after a five-mile run, for example, would not qualify. So you want to aim for gifts that will continue to benefit your workout rather than counter it.
Want to Make Regular Exercise a Priority?
Just remember, when you choose to make exercise a priority in your life, even a little activity is better than none.
If you’ve tried various forms of exercise, but only a few (if any) speak to you, contact us today.
We are one of the only places in Southeast Michigan to offer the unique movement systems of GYROTONIC® and GYROKINESIS®. They could be just what you need to add to your routine.