If exercise or movement isn't really your thing, your body still loves the benefits of it. Here are some ideas that might just twist your arm on how you feel about it…
1. Treat movement as a celebration
We don't need to use exercise as a punishment for eating. Instead, moving is a celebration of what our bodies can do. Experience gratitude for the ways you can move, for being outside. Treat movement as a gift to you and your body.
2. Find your why
Movement has so many benefits. There might be one or a few in particular that are especially rewarding for you. The benefits go beyond your body, too! Here are some ideas that might motivate you to move:
- Stress release
- Boost your mood and support mental clarity
- Improve your gut health
- Experience the feeling of getting fitter
- Working towards a goal
- Time together
Maybe you enjoy working out with a group, or playing with the kids
- Spend time outside in nature
- Help stabilise your blood sugar levels
- A form of moving meditation (especially if you find it tricky to meditate while sitting or lying down)
- Simply because it's enjoyable for you!
3. Find some sort of movement you enjoy
You don't have to be in the gym to be getting the benefits of regular exercise—it doesn't even have to be measured or logged. Our bodies love all different kinds of movement! The best exercise is the kind you actually do. Find something that works for you. Here are just a few ideas:
- Games — Tennis, football
- Throwing a ball or frisbee around
- Practising handstands
4. Do it with a friend
Doing exercise with a friend is always more enjoyable! Go for a walk instead of catching up at a cafe or over the phone. Pick an activity you both enjoy such as yoga or boxing and do it together.
5. Don't be embarrassed to exercise
Some people feel self-conscious about going to the gym, heading outdoors for a walk or a run, showing up to a yoga class, or trying a new activity.
One of the barriers here is worrying what other people think. It's easier to blow this up in our head. Chances are, everyone else is thinking about themselves while working out anyway.
Start in the comfort and privacy of your own home. There are lots of classes, workouts, and ways of moving you can do all by yourself (lots for free too!) while you build up your confidence and comfort levels.
6. Build it into your day
We seem to think of exercise as being confined to 30 minutes or and in the day. If you build it into your routine, movement will happen automatically. Walking instead of taking the car when you can, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or parking a bit further away are just a few ways you can increase incidental movement throughout the day.
7. Listen to your body
Practise the art of listening to your body. Some days you won't feel like it because you're tired and your body is asking you to rest. Other days you won't feel like it until you have your activewear on and you're out the door.
Our friend Neil Wagstaff from Peak Fitness and Health made this video about how to perform a quick wellness check to help you listen to your body, and meet its needs.
8. Move right for you
Exercise appropriately to balance your stress. This is key. Nothing will derail your efforts towards consistency more than doing too much. If you are tired or run down tune into your body and rest. You could try some gentle breath-based exercises instead.
9. Be flexible (not physically)
It’s important to be realistic and flexible in your approach to movement. We can have the best of intentions and set goals to work out 6 days a week, but some weeks it won’t happen. Learning to be okay with this and not viewing it as a failure is critical for building long-term habits and health. Small changes reap bigger results over time if you are consistent than four weeks of intense, rigorous changes.
10. Be brave enough to try something new
Remember, you'll probably be bad at something before you're okay at something; you'll be okay before you're good; and you'll be good before you're excellent. You don't have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great! You're not too old, it's not too late. Give it a go!