As humans, it seems as if we have a million and one things to accomplish daily, and adding exercise to that list can sometimes be impossible depending on the day. For many people exercise is viewed as a chore versus something to look forward to, which is why they dread dragging themselves to the gym after a long day of work or on the weekends. The secret to exercising a reasonable amount is to change your thinking when it comes to staying active. Continue reading to learn how focusing on adding movement into your daily routine can help your physical health and change your overall perspective!
How Often Should I Exercise?
A common question I’m asked is, “how often should I exercise?” And while the answer to that question depends on your age, health, and physical capabilities, moving away from the mindset of “I need to go to the gym 5 days a week for 60 minutes” will help you in finding pleasure in simply moving. While 1 hour of exercise is great, what about the other 23 hours each day? Mindfully creating movement throughout the day can help your mind and body just relax from the stressors and pressures of life.
My first piece of advice is to simply determine what type of movement you do enjoy. If you hate cardio, don’t force yourself to do it! If you enjoy playing sports, join an adult’s league! The concept of working out stretches far outside of the four walls of any gym, you just need to determine how and where! Any movement is good movement, and movement that you actually can enjoy is the BEST type of movement.
Other examples of achievable movement include:
- Walking your dog
- A 20-30 minute HIIT workout, YouTube has plenty!
- Riding a bike
- Walking while taking a phone call or meeting vs. sitting at your desk
Making Movement Work for YOU!
One of the hardest parts about exercising is making sure you’re doing it consistently. Oftentimes, if we miss a workout class or time we had planned on working out, we beat ourselves up about it. Taking rest days isn’t selfish, it’s crucial! What’s important to remember is that if you miss a day, you can jump back in tomorrow or the next day. And once you start incorporating movement into your daily routine, when you do have to miss a day- your body will begin to actually crave that movement it’s missing! The key is making the habit stick when you’re getting started! Studies say that people can form a habit anywhere from 18-254 days, so the key is repetition!
One of the best pieces I have for people who struggle with adding movement into their daily routine is to look at your weekly schedule. For example, if you know that Mondays are a really hard day at work/school, don’t force yourself to end the day with a cardio workout you don’t enjoy. Instead, maybe there’s a 20 minute window in your day you can sneak in a yoga session that will help you recharge for the rest of the day!
Another way to incorporate more movement into your day is to grab your friends or family members. Perhaps every night after dinner your family sits in the living room to talk about your day, instead grab your sneakers and walk around that block to squeeze in that quality time while putting your health first!
Movement vs. Workouts
The key takeaway when it comes to incorporating movement into your lifestyle again is to make it something you look forward to, not dread.
An easy way to remind yourself to move and stay active is with the easy 4-letter word, “FITT!”
- Frequency: How often are you doing an activity?
- Intensity: How hard are you working?
- Time: How long are you doing it for?
- Type: What types of movement do you enjoy most?
Understanding that you don’t have to exercise a certain amount of days and times per week will help you stay healthy, while not hurting your mental health! Adding unwanted pressure on yourself is detrimental, so just get moving, don’t beat yourself up about missing days, and enjoy!