To start exercising regularly when you aren’t used to it can be a challenge. Where should I start? What should I do? What if I’m not motivated? Depending on the day of the week, there is a new headline out touting the superior benefits of one style of exercise over another. But here’s the thing, it’s not supposed to be that complicated. Very simply, our bodies are made to move. Here are a few tips to help you start exercising.
1. Start simply
Start by just trying to move more each day. Increasing your daily movement can boost your energy levels as well as your motivation and confidence. Plus, it’s good for you! This can look like choosing the stairs over the elevator or taking a short walk on your lunch break. While fitness trackers can be problematic if you live and die by them, aiming for that 10,000 steps per day, can be a simple way to make sure you’re moving more.
2. Go with what you like
What happens if you try to force yourself to do something you hate? Chances are you will find every excuse in the book not to do that thing. One of the best ways to ensure your success when you start exercising is to start with something you think or know you will enjoy. For example, if you know you like to dance, try a Zumba class or barre. If you know you hate cardio, start with strength training. If you like it, you are more likely to do it.
3. Don’t rely on motivation to start exercising
One of the most common pitfalls I see is when folks assume that motivation is a force that just materializes out of nowhere or it doesn’t. Waiting for motivation to spontaneously strike is a recipe for failure because it just doesn’t work that way. Very often, a little bit of action must precede motivation. For example, have you ever noticed how sometimes getting yourself to the gym is the hardest part but then once you’re there and moving, you’re fine? That’s a great example of how pushing yourself through a little action (getting yourself to the gym and starting) helps create motivation to continue. Not sure if you’re up for a run? Trying lacing up those sneakers and walking for a bit. Not feeling the idea of lifting today? Try doing some stretches or yoga first.
Peer pressure can be a very effective tool! Well, maybe it’s not peer pressure. But having the accountability of a gym buddy or workout partner can be very helpful when you start exercising.
5. Don’t go crazy
The quickest way to sabotage your fitness goals is to do too much too soon. This could mean setting overly ambitious goals so that you become discouraged when you can’t meet them. Or it could look like pushing too hard and getting injured. As the saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day and muscles aren’t either! Take your time, listen to your body, and go easy on yourself.