How to start exercising and stick to it

July 21, 2020

Exercise is a fundamental part of being a healthy and happy human being, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. No doubt many Australians have donned their best activewear and exercised during the restrictions, after all, it was a chance for many to get out of the house. Now that restrictions have eased in many places across the country, however, it appears that momentum has come to a halt.

If you’re struggling to keep to an exercise routine don’t worry, you’re not alone. While keeping fit is desirable for many Australians, the truth is that it can be difficult to get started and to stick to it.

For most of us, the biggest barrier to taking on regular exercise is mental. We like to question and doubt ourselves, especially in the realm of health and fitness, and certainly many of us have given up before seeing any meaningful results.

Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be like this forever. There are ways you can make exercise less intimidating and more fun.

 

Common excuses

Many of us don’t even get to the exercising part of our plans. It can be easy to come up with an excuse for you to not exercise at all. Here are some common excuses and why they don’t hold up.

“I hate exercising”

There are so many reasons we like to say this. Gyms can be intimidating and anxiety-inducing for many, and a run can feel more painful than beneficial. These aren’t the only exercise activities out there! Finding an activity or hobby that you enjoy can help you push past the monotony and hate for exercise. Things like dancing, sports, even just a walk in a park or a bike ride with a friend. There are so many different ways to exercise, so find one that suits you!

“I’m too busy”

Many of us live very busy lives, and so it can be hard to find any time to exercise. But remember, don’t go into it with an all or nothing mindset. Even the busiest of people can find some time to exercise and make it a priority. It doesn’t have to be a full workout, short and intense bursts of activity can be beneficial as well.

“I’m too tired”

While it may seem a little counterintuitive, exercise is a great energy booster, especially for the long run. By exercising regularly, you’ll boost your long-term energy and feel refreshed and energised for longer. Just don’t exercise if you’re cutting into precious sleep time!

“I’m too fat, too old or my health isn’t good enough”

It’s never too late! Even if you’re a senior or a full-time couch potato who has never exercised, there’s still a chance for you to start. There aren’t many health or weight problems that completely rule out exercise, just make sure you talk to your doctor if you’re worried.

“It’s too painful”

It’s all too common to put yourself in the “no pain, no gain” mindset, but the truth is that exercise shouldn’t hurt. It’s important to take it easy and not overwork yourself, you really don’t have to destroy yourself to see results. Start with small things first!

“I’m not athletic”

You don’t have to be sporty or ultra-coordinated to get fit. Exercise and wellbeing aren’t limited to being a sports superstar! Focus on the easy ways to boost your activity level, and get moving in the way that suits you best.

 

Setting yourself up for success

If you just go straight into it without any thought, it’s unlikely you’ll stick to it. It’s important to set yourself up for a good exercise habit to maximise your chances of success.

Schedule it

It can be difficult to just go and exercise when free-time comes along. In fact, this free-time can often become an excuse to not exercise. By creating a schedule for when you want to exercise in the week, you give yourself a chance to anticipate and prepare for it. It also means you can mark it as an important self-appointment and thus eliminate the chances of forgetting or double-booking yourself.

Make it easy on yourself

When creating a schedule you should consider whether or not you’re likely to stick to it when the time comes. For example, if you’re not a morning person don’t just schedule workouts for mornings and expect to be in your best mood. Plan your workouts around times where you’re not completely burnt-out or stressed, and give yourself time to rest as well!

Remove obstacles

When planning we can often forget the little things that can get in the way of enacting our plans. If you’re going somewhere else to exercise, make sure you have time to get ready. If you want to exercise early in the morning, prepare clothes and things the night before so you can get straight to it!

Hold yourself accountable

Self-accountability is a vital skill in all aspects of life, but it can be a challenging one to develop. If you struggle at this, consider getting yourself a workout partner. With a friend to workout with, you can motivate each other and will be less likely to skip on training sessions. Alternatively, you can ask others to keep track of your progress or announce your goals to friends and family.

 

 

Making exercise more enjoyable

Remember, you’re much more likely to stick to something if you find it fun and rewarding. Results can be an awesome motivator, but a fun exercise activity will certainly help in the long run.

Don’t just think of the gym

When many of us think exercise, we think the gym. But the truth is that going to the gym can be stressful and anxiety-inducing for many. Not to mention, thousands of Australians sign up for gym memberships only to use it once and have to pay for the rest.

Find something that you enjoy and keeps you active. It can be as simple as a short walk in a park every now and then or as complex as gymnastics.

Make it a game

The wonders of technology have brought many possibilities to the table when considering fun exercise. There are many apps and programs that can help you keep track of your exercise and give you motivation through rewards and badges.

This can make exercises fun and interesting, and push you to achieve your best. You could even find yourself playing literal games while running, with apps offering immersive experiences for joggers.

Pair it with something you like

Exercise doesn’t have to be done alone. There are many ways you can get the minutes you need alongside another hobby. If you’re into photography you can document your exercise journey, or perhaps you might want to take the simpler route and watch TV while you run on a treadmill.

Make it social

Exercise can be an awesome time to socialise with others and keep yourself motivated through your connections. You might find it beneficial to include your friends, or perhaps you’d enjoy meeting new people in a club setting.

Alternatively, a little competition never hurts. It can keep you on your toes and motivate you to perform.

 

Getting into an exercise routine can be tough for many, but if you plan ahead and dedicate yourself, you increase the likeliness that you’ll stick to it. And remember, everyone starts from somewhere and you don’t have to follow others’ steps to get your routine going. Think about the ways you can fit exercise into your life through activities you enjoy around people you want to enjoy them with.