Steph’s note: This is the last in a three-part series about your time and your health brought to you by my guest blogger Justin of Limitless365. (Click here to read Part 1 and Part 2.) Justin brings his expertise as a one-on-one health coach to you here, and his philosophy on life, training and nutrition really jive with mine. Make sure to check out his site after you’re done reading the article! Take it away, Justin!
For some of us, making “exercise appointments” on our calendars is all that’s necessary.
Nevertheless, this straightforward and common approach doesn’t work for everyone. To help you make “exercise appointments” and actually show up, you’ll want to consider five indispensable, yet often overlooked tactics.
Step 1: Put Fun In It
Don’t fall victim to the belief that exercise or fitness can’t be fun. That’s a lie.
The truth is that the only way you’re going to stick with it is by making sure it’s fun. There are countless ways for you to give your body the physical activity it needs while also enjoying the process.
Don’t do a particular exercise just because someone else is doing it, especially if you hate it. Do what works for you—whether walking, hiking, swimming, running, cycling, yoga, aerobics or going to the gym. Whatever works for you is best.
If you like doing home workouts such as P90X, Zumba or Hip Hop Abs then go for it. You’ll enjoy it and look forward to it. That means you’ll do it.
Step 2: Baby-step It
Don’t try to become a world-class athlete or lose 30 pounds in a single month.
Such an “all or nothing” philosophy and approach usually results in failure. It’s important to be realistic and practical when setting your fitness goals.
Instead of starting your fitness regime with 60 minutes of strenuous activity each day, break it down into smaller pieces of 30 minutes each day. By the week’s end, you’ll have racked up a whopping 210 minutes of activity.
And, if you’re coming from 0 minutes of activity each week to 210 minutes, then you’re a winner. You’ll get results.
In fact, it’s okay to start with only 10 minutes each day. It’s alright to start small. It’s fine if you begin with baby steps, just as long as you begin. As your body adjusts to your new routine, you can then gradually increase the routine or intensity of each routine.
Step 3: Get Out With It
Mentioned earlier is the need to “put fun in it.”
One of the ways that many people “put fun in it” is by going outside. They mix nature with their exercise.
This could be a walk around your neighborhood. You might choose to run outdoors instead of on a treadmill. Or you might prefer to swim in the ocean or walk along the beach. Finding a place outdoors for physical activity can make your experience energizing, enjoyable, and sustainable.
Step 4: Work It In
Regardless of how or where you choose to exercise, you have to work it into your schedule.
Again, you don’t have to start with a 60 minute routine. It’s more important to build the exercise / fitness habit, even if you begin with 10 minutes a day. That 10 minute consistent routine will serve as a wedge, allowing you to easily make more room for more exercise.
Other ways for you to “work it in” include adding physical activity or exercise to otherwise sedentary activities. Here are two suggestions:
- Active Conversations. Get an earpiece for your phone so that your hands are free during conversations. You can walk around the house or anywhere while talking on the phone. Nowadays, there’s no need to sit still or remain stationary while on the phone. In fact, while talking on the phone—with an earpiece—you can ride an exercise bike, walk, run on the treadmill, etc.
- Television Fitness. While watching TV, do sit-ups, pushups and much more. In fact, with a little thought and rearranging, you can ride an exercise bike or free weights while watching TV. Walking or running on the treadmill are also a few more options.
Step 5: Make It Social
Instead of chatting with a friend for hours on the phone or over coffee, get out with them for a walk, game of tennis, or perhaps a fitness / yoga class. This allows you to make exercising “social.”
You’ll be surprised how quickly a one hour walk goes by while you’re talking with a friend. Likewise, a game of tennis—or other sport—will pass by so fast that you’ll likely opt for another game.
We are social creatures. By making our physical activities “social,” we make them more fun and desirable. Not only will you provide your body with precious activity, but you’ll also cultivate a stronger relationship with your friends or family members.
Life Without Health
Francois Rabelais (1483–1553) was a French Renaissance doctor, writer, and humanist who said, “Without health, life is not life; it is only a state of languor and suffering.”
We all get the same 24 hours every day. And every week we are blessed with 168 hours. Are your health and life worth at least a few of those hours?
If so, make time for your health. Make your health a top priority. After all, it’s your life…and you only get one. Better to live a long, healthy, and energetic life than a short life that’s plagued with fatigue and preventable illnesses. The choice is yours.
You now have the tools to make time for your health, become healthier, and have fun in the process.