Don’t Know How to Start Exercising Again? Just Start!
Have you put physical activity on the shelf for a while - perhaps a long while, like maybe years?
It doesn’t even have to be that long for you to feel overwhelmed with the thought of starting back up again, it may even have only been a few months since you did any type of consistent exercise. Just the thought of starting all over again, feeling sore, feeling embarrassed that you are so out of shape, keeps you from being motivated to start up again, or just start up for the first time!
One thing I always tell people is that “it” doesn’t have to be all or nothing. “It” is your fill in the blank - the food you put in your mouth, exercise, breastfeeding, meditating, you name it. We tend to have this strange notion that if we can’t do something all out, we might as well not do it at all, and we just give up or don’t even start.
This is simply not true. Did you know that losing just 5% of your body weight can have a significant impact on your health? If you weigh 200lbs, that’s just 10 pounds. You may want to lose 50 pounds, but just 10 pounds will have such a significant difference.
Small steps lead to big achievements. You’ve heard of this before and it has many different names. We get overwhelmed because we look at the big goal. Yes, you can get there faster if you take giant leaps, but this really isn’t necessary if the giant leaps are going to cause you to regress because it was just too much for you.
What happens with most of us is that not only do we feel overwhelmed with the idea of starting back for the reasons I listed above, but we convince ourselves that we “don’t have time.” I hear so many people say this, but if something is really important, you make time, right? Some things just MUST be done, there’s no getting around it. Exercise is one of those things.
I’ve been studying the teachings of Earl Nightingale and Bob Proctor and one of the things that really stuck out to me is this: Success is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal or goal. I didn’t really get it when I first heard it, but then it clicked. Now, whenever things are moving slower for me than I want, I keep this quote in mind and realize that as long as I’m moving forward, even if it’s by a millimeter, it’s progressive - I’m moving toward my goal.
So, if you aren’t doing anything at all right now, start with 5 minutes. Take a walk around your house or building. Park in the back of the parking lot and walk in to the store or restaurant. When that gets easy, add another 5 minutes - extend your walk down the street, look for more ways to add activity into your daily routine (housekeeping actually burns a lot of calories!). As you keep building up, invite your partner, kids, a friend to join you to get some quality time in while doing something good for your bodies.
This may seem very simple to you, especially if you are already a bit more advanced than this. However, much of the time, the issue isn’t your fitness level, it’s making time. By just taking five or 10 minutes out of your already busy day to do a little fitness, you won’t feel it as much. Perhaps instead of just taking a walk, you can make it more intense, some plyometrics, HIIT or tabata workouts, taking the stairs (when safe) instead of the elevator. These are quick and effective.
Remember, you can split it up throughout the day. The recommendation is 150 minutes a week of moderate activity. What’s moderate? It’s when you feel your heart rate go up, you start to breathe a little heavier and start to sweat, but you can still carry on a conversation. You may not be able to sing, but you can talk.
Going back to how much you should exercise, 150 minutes is 30 minutes a day if you exercise five days a week. You can split up the 30 minutes into three 10 minute segments or two 15 minute segments. Does this sound much more doable than 30 minutes in one shot?
Be kind with yourself, it’s incremental progress. If you miss a day, just start back up again the next day. And start at the right level for you, listen to your body. I personally tend to overdo it. I push myself too hard and later I feel fatigued and am prone to injury. Do not do this (trust me). You should feel challenged in your workouts, but feel great afterwards. After your workout, you should feel revitalized, not tired. If you feel tired, you did too much. Just step it back a little the next time until you find the right balance.
The key to getting results is consistency, consistency, consistency. I know you’ve heard this a million times, but I’m going to say it again. It HAS to be a lifestyle, not a chore, so make it enjoyable, do something you like. If it’s not fun and doesn’t motivate you to go back, move on to something else, but give it a chance first. Allow yourself some time to get over the hump of starting something new. And keep it doable - exercising two hours one day because you have time and then not again for another two weeks isn’t the idea. It’s better to do 10 minutes a day than be inconsistent like this.
A great way to be consistent is to have an accountability partner or getting involved with a group that has similar interests, one that will ask you where you were if you don’t show up. I’ve had accountability partners over the years and one of the great things, besides helping you be consistent, is the relationship you form because of the quality time you spend together. It’s all fun and games to get together with friends and loved ones over cocktails at happy hour, but forming that bond while doing something great for your body can’t be beat (and you can always hit the cocktails later!).
The most important thing is to take action! Sign up for or do something you always wanted to try THIS WEEK, or even TODAY!.